November 5, 2015

Could Donald Trump make publishing great again?


8566727275_844dbb58a9_bI don’t go to too many book signings. This is because they are boring. Mostly, you just stand in line, wait for a brief encounter with a person who will forget you within 45 seconds, and then walk away with an ink-stained hardcover that will impress maybe one other person you know.

I have recently observed that there are exceptions, however.

For example, just yesterday Presidential hopeful Donald “The Donald” Trump released his most recent screed against weakness, inept deal making, and American bridges: his book, Crippled America. The event was a rapturous, extravagant, eminently Trump-worthy affair held in the atrium of—natch—the Trump Tower, where Mr. Trump conducts his business and, presumably, embroiders the hats.

As reported in the sort of appropriately named Quincy Herald-Whig,

Hundreds began lining up outside the building before dawn to buy copies of the book and have it signed by the billionaire businessman and former reality TV star. By midday, a line snaked around a Midtown Manhattan city block.

Sounds like a party!

There was also plenty of bombast and all-but-rote invective, but as it turns out these are elements that can improve signing events. Marco Rubio? A “disaster.” Ben Carson? “Lacks energy.” Bernie Sanders? “Stupid.” Imagine if, every time you went to see some paunchy mid-list novelist they spent the time not reading but energetically calling various people “freeloaders” or “chumps” or “bad deal-makers.” It would be great!

I wasn’t there—I explained that above—but I have to imagine this was better than your average signing, and imagine that the visceral thrill of being in Trump Towers, a stone’s throw away from the world’s most notorious hair. I’d also like to think that there was shrimp cocktail (no double dipping!), meatloaf, and plenty of vodka.

In short, could the mocking slogan of our joke hat become reality, thanks to … the guy we were mocking?


Simon Reichley is assistant to the publishers and office manager at Melville House.