Suddenly, Donald Trump’s newfound interest in books is beginning to make sense: One day after the president tweeted five plugs for books written by right-wing supporters and Fox News pals like Gregg Jarrett and Jeanine Pirro, Penguin Random House has announced that Michelle Obama’s Becoming is officially the best-selling book of 2018.
That’s right, the book that called Trump a “misogynist” and accused him of deliberately using the birther nonsense to “stir up the wingnuts and kooks” has sold more than 2 million copies in the U.S. and Canada within 15 days of its Nov. 13 release.
The 2 million-plus figure includes hardcover, e-book and audio sales, according to the publishing house, citing NDP BookScan data. Already in its sixth printing, Becoming has 3.4 million hardcover copies in print in the U.S. and Canada, selling a huge 1.4 million copies during its first week of publication. The former First Lady is currently on a 10-city, 12-date U.S. book tour.
Even if Trump didn’t predict today’s announcement from Penguin Random House, the president might well have been aware of a recent meme comparing sales of his The Art of the Deal and her Becoming:
Yesterday, Trump expressed a seemingly newfound literary obsession by tweeting book recommendations, beginning with Back in the Game by Republican Congressman Steve Scalise (“absolutely fascinating”).
Next came a hearty endorsement for Trumponomics by Stephen Moore and Arthur Laffer, “two very talented men” who, Trump said, “have really done a great job in capturing my long-held views and ideas.”
Then there was a “highly recommend” for Dan Bongino’s Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump. “He’s tough, he’s smart, and he really gets it,” Trump tweeted.
And finally, Trump’s book report concluded with thumbs-up (though no title mentions) for Jarrett’s The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme To Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump, and Pirro’s Liars, Leakers, and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy.
“With all of the new books coming out you can’t forget two of the great originals written by @GreggJarrett and @JudgeJeanine Pirro,” Trump tweeted. “Their books both went to #1. Go get them now, the phony Witch Hunt is well explained!”
Trump’s book tweets struck his Twitter followers as, well, odd. “As if you can even read,” was a typical response.
But today’s announcement by Penguin Random House puts the president’s sudden onset of bibliophilia in context. Sour grapes? Damage control? Diversionary tactic?
So for the record:
- Becoming is in its second week at #1 on two New York Times bestseller lists: Hardcover Nonfiction and the Combined Print and E-Book Bestsellers, and is #1 on the USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestsellers lists;
- Becoming hit the #1 adult nonfiction ranking in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Greece. Additional countries where it is a national bestseller include Australia, Israel, Korea, Taiwan, and South Africa;
- Becoming is being published in 31 languages around the world.