News & Politics

How Long Will the Trump-Book Boom Continue?

Some insiders think it's already peaked.

Photograph of books by Martin Bond/Alamy.Photograph of Trump by Gage.

The President may prefer 280-character communication, but books about him are booming. Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury spent ten weeks atop the New York Times bestseller list, only to be replaced by Michael Isikoff and David Corn’s Russian Roulette. That should be followed by another: James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty.

The frenzy to claim the next Fire and Fury has the book industry guarding its property like state secrets. Workers at warehouses shipping the Comey book have been asked to sign nondisclosure agreements. Meanwhile, for DC literary agents, there’s never been a better time to be in business. New York City houses are looking to them to find the next behemoth.

“The salmon are running, as far as the Washington agents are concerned,” says Adam Bellow, editorial director of the All Points Books imprint at St. Martin’s Press. “It’s high tide.”

In the political-book world, it’s impossible to avoid constant conversations about whether the market can sustain this proliferation of Trump titles. Ronald Goldfarb, the Washington attorney who sold Bill Press’s upcoming Trump Must Go, predicts a “torrential” flood of them, but some in Manhattan think the trend has peaked. The first group all landed around the anniversary of the inauguration, explains Bob Bender, a VP and executive editor at Simon & Schuster: “Nobody’s going to do that for the second year—assuming there is a second year.”

But Marji Ross, whose local conservative publishing house, Regnery, will release Sean Spicer’s memoir, sees lots of time pegs on which to hang Trump books. The midterms are coming, and then, of course, the big show. “Boy oh boy,” she says dreamily, “2020 is going to have way more books than any of the previous three years.”

This article appears in the May 2018 issue of Washingtonian.


David Murrell, a former Washingtonian editorial fellow, is research editor at Philadelphia magazine.