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Don. Jr.’s Self-Published Book Climbs Amazon Charts As Right-Wing Media Thrives

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TOPLINE

Donald Trump’s new self-published book, Liberal Privilege, is rocketing up Amazon’s bestseller list after debuting Sunday, in the latest sign that right-wing media is nurturing its own ecosystem that doesn’t rely on traditional publishers, social media platforms, cable news and more to communicate with the masses.

KEY FACTS

Liberal Privilege is eighth on Amazon’s bestseller list, and its jacket design reminds readers that Trump Jr.’s first book, Triggered, was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller.

While Triggered was published on Center Street, Hachette’s conservative imprint, Trump Jr. likely self-published his second in order to keep more of the profits, and to have much more leeway in what he could write, according to multiple reports.

Trump Jr.’s book is expected to be a fundraising boon for his father’s re-election campaign, Republican National Committee press secretary Mandi Merritt told the New York Times, adding that signed copies of Triggered raised nearly $1 million.

On social media, over 1.7 million conservatives in recent months have flocked to Parler, a Twitter-like app, after Twitter placed warning labels on some controversial President Trump tweets and Facebook removed some of his campaign ads.

And One America News Network (OANN) has emerged as a Trump-favorite conservative cable news outlet, further to the right of Fox News, which heaps extensive praise on President Trump and advances conspiracy theories.

Not to be discounted in the future: a Trump TV network, the possibility of which was floated before the 2016 election—and could look something like Trump Jr.’s YouTube show that’s part of the president’s reelection campaign, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Surprising fact

By selling his new book on Amazon, Trump Jr. still has to hand some of the profits over to the platform—along with CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, the first person ever to be worth $200 billion. Trump Jr. did not respond to a request for comment on this by Forbes

Crucial quote

“This is a political pamphlet, not a book,” Peter Osnos, head of the nonfiction imprint PublicAffairs told the New York Times about Liberal Privilege. “It hasn’t been subjected to any measure of quality or accuracy.” (The majority of publishers, however, do not fact-check nonfiction books, and most authors hire freelancers on their own dime to check their work). 

Big number

286,000. That’s how many copies of Triggered have been sold since it hit shelves in November 2019, according to the New York Times

Key background

Self-published authors can keep between 35% to 70% of their book sales, the New York Times reported, while authors signed to publishers typically get 10% to 15% of sales after earning back their advance. It’s a financial advantage that comes at the cost of having to do more of the work, such as proofreading. And most major book distributors don’t carry self-published books, including Liberal Privilege. A sneak peek of Liberal Privilege’s cover contained an apostrophe error, prompting snarky remarks from the publishing world.

Tangent

There are two competing titles sitting at higher places on Amazon’s bestseller list. Former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen’s tell-all, Disloyal, clocked in at number three as of Tuesday. And a Melania Trump tell-all, written by former friend and White House events planner Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, sits in fourth place. 

Further reading

Self-Publishing Is a Gamble. Why Is Donald Trump Jr. Doing It? (New York Times)

Parler’s Founder Explains Why He Built Trump’s New Favorite Social Media App (Forbes)

Trump’s Favorite TV Network Is Post-parody (The Atlantic)

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