Multiple former Trump aides cashed in with dishy memoirs that flopped in sales, report says

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  • Many tell-all memoirs from former Trump aides have flopped in sales, Politico reports. 
  • Books by Mark Meadows, Mark Esper, Dr. Ben Carson, and Dr. Deborah Birx all sold under 22,000 copies. 
  • “It’s boring people cashing in by saying the same things they’ve been saying all along,” a publishing industry source told Politico.

After former President Donald Trump left office, several of his former aides cashed in with buzzy book deals bringing lucrative advances. But many of those books have failed to match that buzz with sales, Politico reported Thursday.

Tell-all books by former national security adviser John Bolton and former FBI director James Comey that were published during the Trump presidency made waves and were massive commercial hits, selling over 600,000 copies each, per Politico. “A Warning,” an anonymously authored inside account of the Trump administration that was later revealed to be written by former Department of Homeland Security official Miles Taylor, also topped the New York Times bestseller list after it was published in 2019. 

But books published after the Trump presidency — both those laudatory and critical of Trump — have brought in comparatively meager sales figures, according to figures from NPD Bookscan obtained by Politico. 

The NPD Bookscan numbers, Politico noted, don’t include 100% of hardcover sales and don’t capture audiobook or e-book sales. But they still show how a mismatch between the supply of post-Trump memoirs and the demand for such books. 

  • The top-performing Trump book, Peter Navarro’s “Taking Back Trump’s America,” has sold over 80,000 copies. 
  • Former Attorney General Bill Barr’s memoir “One Damn Thing After Another” has sold a little over 64,000 copies, per NPD Bookscan. (A spokesperson for Barr told Politico the book has sold 140,000 to 150,000 copies in all). 
  • Former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s book “Here’s the Deal” sold a little over 42,000 copies. (A spokesperson for publisher Simon & Schuster told Politico they were “pleased” with the sales of the book). 
  • Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham’s Trump-critical memoir “I’ll Take Your Questions Now” sold a little over 38,000 copies.
  • A book written by Dr. Scott Atlas, who advised the White House on COVID, sold just over 27,000 copies. 
  • Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ book “The Chief’s Chief,” which contained the bombshell revelation that Trump tested positive for COVID before a debate with Joe Biden, sold less than 22,000 copies. 
  • Former HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson’s book also sold under 22,000 copies.   
  • Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s book sold fewer than 21,000 copies. 
  • Former White House COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx’s memoir sold fewer than 6,000 copies. 

“Since he left office, the Trump memoirs have not done great,” an unnamed publishing executive told Politico. “Each of the people who have written a book so far was telling stories that we pretty much already knew.”

Another publishing industry source told Politico that “every White House memoir so far has been a loser except Navarro,” saying that “Barr, Conway, Birx, and Esper lost money.”

“It’s boring people cashing in by saying the same things they’ve been saying all along,” the person said. “If you don’t have big news nuggets, and you’re not telling MAGA what they most want to hear, you’re wasting your publisher’s money. The amazing thing is that Conway, Barr, Birx, and Esper got over 5 million [in advance money] between them.”