Today the Times turns its publishing-world attention from Nascar lit to a different kind of race, the presidential one, and specifically to presidential books. It seems there are distinct types of candidate tomes, and publishing insiders provide a detailed taxonomy of them: There are "introduction," "manifesto," and "off-topic" works. (Generously, if inexplicably, the experts put Al Gore's Earth in the Balance in the third category and not the second.) The article is full of unsurprising facts: Barack Obama's Audacity of Hope has opened a can of Amazon whup-ass on the reissue of Hillary Clinton's It Takes a Village; Bush absolutely did not write A Charge to Keep (we sort of recall news in 2000 that he hadn't read it, either, but maybe we just feel that's the case because no one else did), and that if book sales were ballots, John McCain would be finishing his second term. Those best-sellers notwithstanding, though, the quoted experts agree that, as one puts it, "most of these books are going to be wastes of trees." Hey, in the grand scheme of things, bad books are the least bad things paper can do to a presidential election.
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