Michael Wolff’s decision to publish ‘Fire and Fury’ after Trump’s lawyers filed a cease-and-desist letter was an unprecedented move. Here’s why.
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff, which made its debut at No.1 on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list on Thursday, has set sales records for its publisher.
Stephen Rubin, Henry Holt’s president and publisher, said Thursday that the incendiary book, which created a tsunami of media coverage by claiming people inside the White House question President Trump’s fitness for office, “set off a historic rate of sales velocity driven by consumer demand for books across all formats, including physical hardcovers, e-books and audiobooks.”
Holt said it has shipped 700,000 hardcover copies so far and is publishing an additional 700,000 hardcover copies to meet demand. The company does not release digital sales figures. However, according to data reported to USA TODAY’s best-seller list, the majority of initial sales were e-books.
The publication date was moved up to Jan. 5 from a planned publication date of Jan. 9 after excerpts of the explosive and controversial book were released last week. Fire and Fury landed atop USA TODAY’s list after only three days of sales (Jan. 5-7), an impressive achievement. (USA TODAY’s list counts Monday-through-Sunday sales on a weekly basis.)
For every 10 books Fire and Fury sold, the week’s second best-selling book, The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn, sold .7 copies, according to data reported to USA TODAY’s best-seller list. USA TODAY’s list counts combined digital and print sales.
Because of the East Coast blizzard and other distribution issues, many would-be buyers came away empty-handed at brick-and-mortar bookstores. Stores that had the hardcover book the first day sold out in minutes. The revved-up press run for the hardcover should solve that problem for consumers who still want a book to hold in their hands.
“The magnitude of demand for Fire and Fury was so unprecedented that we felt the only thing to do was break from our planned publication date, which Macmillan has never done in our memory, and make this book available as soon as possible to accounts and readers,” said Don Weisberg, president of Macmillan Publishers, the parent company of Henry Holt. “We have worked with our suppliers…