No doubt the reelection of Barack Obama as President of the United States will have tremendous impact on numerous industries. Here are my predictions as to how Obama's second term will impact the book publishing industry, which Nate Silver has said are 90.9 percent accurate. (OK, maybe not, but I'm pretty certain of at least most of these guesses.)
1) Obama the Moneymaker. With his reelection, Obama has solidified himself as a self-sustaining cash cow. Obama's first two books, Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope, have sold well over four million copies. A second term means his books will continue to backlist strongly, whereas a defeat would have made his books more of a curio as the country shifted to a Romney presidency. It also means that, when Obama leaves office, he will do so having served eight years, and depending on how his second term plays out, permanent devotion from a large portion of the country. Jimmy Carter, the Democrat's last one-term president and frequent GOP punching bag, has published numerous bestsellers since leaving office, including a novel (!), and it's safe to say that if a post-presidency Obama wants to stay in the public eye as an author, he'll see strong success and sales. He is already rumored to be writing his next book with cherished Jewish activist Elie Wiesel.
2) The New Blood. With eyes already looking towards the 2016 election, a bumper crop of (relatively) new Republican faces will likely publish books as primers on their positions and sales tools for their backers. Depending on their individual ambitions, I would expect new books by Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal among others to hit shelves in advances of the 2016 primaries in order to make cases for their next prospective office. On the other side, with a new Democratic candidate needed for 2016, I wouldn't be shocked if we see books from possible frontrunners Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Andrew Cuomo, Antonio Villaraigosa, Deval Patrick and even stalwarts Hillary Clinton and possibly... Joe Biden?
3) Conservative domination. There's always been more money in opposition rather than the status quo, and Obama's first term brought massive sales from books by conservative political pundits. Glenn Beck and Mark Levin broke the million-copy barrier with their respective releases, while Michelle Malkin, David Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Dinesh D'Souza all had their own #1 bestsellers. And Bill O'Reilly has reinvented himself as political historian, with Killing Lincoln breaking a million copies and Killing Kennedy well on its way. Books by the opposition always sell well regardless of president, case in point Michael Moore's huge #1 bestseller Stupid White Men and Al Franken's Lies, both published during the George W. Bush presidency. Even comic behemoths Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert saw their newest releases, published under the Obama administration, fall far short of their tallies during the Bush years. Though Beck's sales have dropped since moving from his television perch at Fox, it can be expected that these same commentators and more will continue to garner support from the loyal opposition at the cash registers.
4) Liberal Waiting Game. Since opposition does drive sales, the first four years of the Obama presidency brought few bestsellers by liberal authors.The left's biggest pundits -- Ed Schultz, James Carville, Keith Olbermann (at least until recently) -- have barely scraped the bestseller lists compared to their conservative counterparts. Rachel Maddow had a #1 bestseller with Drift and Chris Matthews with a book on JFK, though their sales still paled in comparison compared to many of the names mentioned in the previous paragraph. It's likely that liberal voices will see modest sales over the next four years, but won't see any substantial breakout successes until a Republican takes back the White House.
5) GOP Soul Searching. Pundits on the right have begun to wonder if the GOP needs to reexamine its outreach to communities it has had difficulty courting in the past (minorities, single women, etc), so I would expect right-leaning analysts to publish books on how the GOP can widen its umbrella to attract a larger base going forward.
6) $tats-R-U$. Nate Silver, who, depending on how Florida goes, may have correctly predicted all 50 state elections, is the unquestionable geek hero of this election cycle, with his blog Five Thirty Eight reportedly garnering an astronomical 20 percent of all New York Times page views the day before the election. Though Silver's The Signal and the Noise has sold relatively modestly since its publication in September, the day after the election it was sitting pretty at #2 on Amazon with a huge bump to come. Stat geeks on both sides of the aisle will no doubt jockey to position themselves as the Next Silver.
In the meantime, according to Nate's model there's a 9.1 percent I'm wrong about all of this.
Jason Pinter is the Senior Marketing Manager for Grove/Atlantic and Mysterious Press, as well as the bestselling author of five thrillers (the most recent of which are The Fury and The Darkness), as well as the ebook exclusive FAKING LIFE, which have nearly 1.5 million copies in print in nearly 20 countries. His first novel for young readers, Zeke Bartholomew: Superspy!, was published in November 2011. Visit him at www.jasonpinter.com or follow him on Twitter.
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