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Bob Woodward’s book proves Americans still want to read about Trump

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Bob Woodward (left) is riding the publishing industry’s Trump wave.
  • Karen Ho
By Karen Ho

Global finance and economics reporter

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Rage, Bob Woodward’s newest book, was already at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list days before Americans learned about its explosive contents. The controversy it has generated since details from the book were first published this week will likely fuel more sales.

Woodward, who based Rage on 18 on-the-record interviews with Donald Trump, has been criticized for not publishing comments the president made about the seriousness of the coronavirus sooner. In early spring, Trump told Woodward that the virus was “deadly stuff.” At the time, the president was publicly downplaying the virus’s impact.

Books about contemporary politics have become blockbusters during the Trump administration, including tomes on the White House’s inside politics, his children, and the growing divide between Democrats and Republicans. Before Trump was elected in 2016, this genre hardly ever made it to the top of bestseller lists. Rage, which officially starts selling on Sept. 15, is Woodward’s latest success in the contemporary politics genre. His book Fear was also a bestseller in 2018 before it was officially released.

In the last four years, there have been more than 1,200 titles published about the president in the US. This is significantly more than the approximately 500 books about former president Barack Obama and his administration during his first term, according to an analysis by NPD BookScan, a market research company. Releases of non-fiction books about Trump have only intensified leading up to the November presidential election. They include tell-alls by former national security advisor John Bolton and the president’s niece, Mary L. Trump.

This week, five out of Amazon’s top 10 most sold non-fiction books are related to Trump:

  • Stephanie Winston Wolkoff’s Melania and Me about her friendship with the First Lady
  • Michael Cohen’s Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump
  • Michael S. Schmidt’s Donald Trump v. The United States, about the officials who tried to contain and stop Trump
  • Mary L. Trump’s Too Much and Never Enough, which has spent 12 weeks on the bestseller list already
  • Liberal Privilege, which was written and self-published by Donald Trump Jr.

Several became bestsellers during their first official week of being released. Mary Trump’s memoir, which sold nearly a million copies the first day of its release in mid-July, is also currently at the top on NPD Bookscan’s list for 2020.

Before Trump, this kind of topic dominance on bestseller lists was rare. When it did happen, it was mostly because of blockbuster fiction titles with a high potential for movie adaptation, such as The Hunger Games, a series of dystopian young adult novels which sold 27.7 million copies in 2012.

Dan Kopf contributed to this story.

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