Books | June 18, 2020 12:07 pm

Simon & Schuster Wants to Own the Trump Book Market Through the 2020 Election

The publisher is behind tell-alls from John Bolton, Mary L. Trump and others

Donald Trump books from Simon & Schuster by Mary Trump, John Bolton and Mary Jordan
All three of these Trump bombshell books are being released by Simon & Schuster.
Simon & Schuster

“There’s no denying Trump has sparked an avalanche of book sales,” Jim Milliot, editorial director at Publishers Weekly, told Vulture back in 2018. Anyone who has walked into a bookstore or scrolled The New York Times Best Sellers List in the last four years has been overloaded with volumes about the president, from tell-alls to take-downs to reelection tools. 

The profits generated by this voracious political appetite have, for the most part, been spread across book publishers, with titles like Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, David Frum’s Trumpocracy and Bob Woodward’s Fear coming from different outlets (Henry Holt, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, respectively). But as the 2020 election looms, the latter publisher is looking to dominate the Trump market.

As The New York Times details, not only is Simon & Schuster behind three of the largest books currently roiling the presidency — John Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened, Mary L. Trump’s Too Much And Never Enough and the Melania Trump biography The Art of Her Deal — the big five publisher is also looking to satisfy the other end of the political spectrum, publishing books by Donald Trump himself as well as an upcoming Sean Hannity effort.

“We’re not coming from this in a partisan way,” Jonathan Karp, the chief executive of Simon & Schuster, told the Times. “We want to give voters the information and the context that they need to make an informed decision in 2020.”

They also want to keep themselves afloat during a prolonged upheaval in the publishing world due to changing reading habits and the more recent devastation from COVID-19. As the Times notes, Simon & Schuster is in a particularly precarious position as its parent company, ViacomCBS, put the publisher up for sale in March. 

That’s not to say there isn’t still money to be made in the book world. One detail buried in the Times story is how much Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser, received as an advance for his book: no less than seven figures.

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