Donald Trump's Poll Bump Doesn’t Aid Book Sales

Trump_the_art_of_the_Deal_Cover - P 2015
Courtesy of Ballantine Books

Trump_the_art_of_the_Deal_Cover - P 2015

At rallies on the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is fond of holding up his 1987 book The Art of the Deal and declaring it his second favorite book of all time, after the Bible. All that exposure has given the 28-year-old book a bump in sales, but not as big a bump as one might have guessed. 

Art of the Deal has been bouncing around the No. 100 spot on Amazon for the last couple of weeks (the paperback version is currently at No. 89 on Amazon’s list of its Top 100 selling books). That is a decent bump for a book that is nearly three decades old and has already sold millions of copies.

His other books aren’t selling nearly as well. A reprint of 2011’s Time to Get Tough is at No. 659, 2010’s Think Like a Champion is No. 3,408, 2007’s Think Big is at 771,466.

Still, Thomas Dunne Books has enough faith in the book buying public’s interest in Trump to move up the publication date of Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success from early 2016 to October and then move it again to Sept. 22. The book is written by Michael D’Antonio, a former journalist who was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize at Newsday, who has said Trump participated in three “candid” interviews with him.

As a general rule, candidate books don’t sell well. Ted Cruz’s book is at No. 2,390 on Amazon, Carly Fiorina is at No. 21,781, Rand Paul is all the way down past No. 1.3 million. Jeb Bush’s book on immigration, which one would imagine might get a bump since that issue has been in the news so much, is No. 196,217 on Amazon.

The best-selling author among the Republican candidates is Ben Carson, whose 2014 book One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future has sold over 362,000 hardcover copies since its release in 2014 — more than the combined total of the books the other Republican candidates have released since 2010.

But those sales have little to do with his standing at a candidate (though in some polls he’s second in Iowa behind Trump). The book came out after Carson’s criticism of President Obama at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast gained him a lot of attention — the same way Obama’s Dreams of My Father got a big boost in sales after his 2008 Democratic National Convention speech made him a national figure.