Major publishers are refusing to offer a book deal to a 'radioactive' Trump, report says

Major publishers are refusing to offer a book deal to a 'radioactive' Trump, report says
·3 min read
donald trump book signing
Donald Trump signs copies of his book "Crippled America: How to Make Our Country Great Again" at Trump Tower on Tuesday, November 3, 2015, in New York. Greg Allen/Invision/AP
  • Major literary publishers don't want to touch a Trump book with a 10-foot pole, Politico reports.

  • One industry source told Politico Trump "has screwed over so many publishers" before his presidency.

  • Trump's voluminous lies about election fraud make a Trump book a "fact-checking nightmare."

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Former President Donald Trump boasted in a recent statement that he's "writing like crazy" on "the book of all books" and "turned down two book deals from the most unlikely publishers."

But in reality, all the major players in the publishing world are staying as far away from Trump as possible, Politico reported, citing both Trump's "radioactive" standing following the January 6 insurrection and the daunting task of fact-checking his copious lies about the 2020 election.

Former presidents usually have no trouble landing huge book deals with enviable advances. Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, for example, jointly got a whopping $65 million advance from Penguin Random House for their post-White House memoirs following a heated bidding war.

In Trump's case, it's crickets from all the big publishing houses, Politico said.

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Sources at major publishers Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan Publishers, and Simon & Schuster told Politico that they hadn't heard anything about Trump being offered a book deal and aren't keen to edit him anytime soon.

One industry source told Politico that in addition to the baggage from the insurrection, Trump "has screwed over so many publishers that before he ran for president none of the big 5 would work with [him] anymore."

In a statement to Politico, Trump still left open the possibility of working with the publishers he initially turned down while insulting publishing executives as "some of the biggest sleezebags on earth."

"If my book will be the biggest of them all, and with 39 books written or being written about me, does anybody really believe that they are above making a lot of money? Some of the biggest sleezebags [sic] on earth run these companies," he said, adding that publishers care about "no morals, no nothing, just the bottom line."

"It doesn't matter what the upside on a Trump book deal is, the headaches the project would bring would far outweigh the potential in the eyes of a major publisher," Keith Urbahn, cofounder of literary agency Javelin, told Politico, saying that a publisher willing to take on Trump "is looking at a fact-checking nightmare, an exodus of other authors, and a staff uprising in the unlikely event they strike a deal with the former president."

Simon & Schuster faced internal dissent from staff after striking a deal with former Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump has written numerous books with the help of ghostwriters. His most successful book, "The Art of the Deal," was published in 1987.

It's still possible that a smaller publishing house could pick up a Trump memoir, or that Trump could publish one on his own, Politico added.

His son Donald Trump Jr. self-published his most recent book, "Liberal Privilege: Joe Biden and the Democrats' Defense of the Indefensible," after Center Street - a division of Hachette Book Group - published his 2019 book "Triggered."

In both cases, bulk purchases from the Republican National Committee helped pad the book's sales.

"Triggered" debuted at the top of the following week's New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction, with an important caveat: a dagger symbol indicating a large percentage of the book's sales came from "institutional, special interest, group, or bulk purchases."

"It's known in the industry as the 'deadly dagger,'" a source told Page Six. "A rare penalty that is only called for flagrant fouls."

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