1:01pm PT by Andy Lewis
Michael Wolff's Trump Book 'Fire and Fury' Sells Out Instantly
Huge hype, clandestine efforts to obtain early copies, midnight lines at bookstores, TV hosts talking about plot points about the story of a group of friends and allies dealing with a dark lord. You are forgiven if you think this is going to be a 10th anniversary look back at the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
No, this is a story about the crazy response to Hollywood Reporter columnist Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which went on sale today (Jan. 5), four days ahead of schedule, following an effort by President Trump to suppress its publication.
Multiple excerpts (New York magazine, British GQ, THR), early leaks and countless hours of television coverage stoked interest in the book beyond all expectations. Good luck trying to find a physical copy despite a 200,000-book first printing. (Digital copies are always instantly available). Spot checks in Los Angeles and New York find the book is pretty much sold out everywhere. (A check on Barnes and Noble's website finds that the closest copies to Manhattan–as of 3 pm ET–were in Clifton or Paramus, NJ).
L.A.’s famed Book Soup sold out the 20 copies it pre-ordered a few minutes after the book went on sale. Another 80 copies due in later today are already all spoken for and they are taking first come, first served pre-paid orders on the stock of 140 copies expected to be delivered on Monday.
At Amazon the top three sellers are respectively Fire and Fury’s hardcover edition, its Kindle edition and at No. 3, the Audible audio edition.
Fire and Fury went from very little awareness to bestseller in the span of just a few days. The book was embargoed and scheduled for publication on Jan. 9th when The Guardian obtained a copy (at a bookstore in New England) and reported on the contents, particularly former Trump staffer and Breitbart boss Steve Bannon’s comment that Donald Trump, Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting with some Russians was “unpatriotic” and “treasonous.” New York magazine dropped its authorized excerpt a few minutes later. Cable news covered the revelations nonstop as well as the Trump administration’s furious response, including a statement from the president saying Bannon had “lost his mind.” Interest was further stoked when Charles Harder, the president’s personal attorney (and the lawyer who won Hulk Hogan’s Gawker lawsuit), sent a cease-and-desist letter to Wolff, a longtime New York media writer, and Henry Holt, the book’s publisher, who responded by moving up the publication date.
All the attention has been a boon to the book, which was ranked around 48,000 on Amazon when the week started. (A potential collateral beneficiary, author Lauren Groff whose novel Fates and Furies has a very similar title. She tweeted:
It'd be excellent if ten percent of all the people who want to read that other book with F. and Fury in its title accidentally bought my novel instead.
— Lauren Groff (@legroff) January 4, 2018
But the biggest winner has been Wolff and he knows it. On the Today show this morning when host Savannah Guthrie asked if President Trump was helping sell books, Wolff joked, “Where do I send the box of chocolates?"