Team Trump Brags About Picture Book’s Mediocre Sales

Photo: Winning Team Publishing

Donald Trump got some flak when his first postpresidential tome turned out to be a coffee-table book filled with photos rather than a proper memoir, but now he’s laughing all the way to the bank as the book is so popular it has sold out nationwide and signed copies are already a valuable collectible. Or at least that’s what the folks behind the book want us to think.

CNN reported Monday that Our Journey Together has grossed $20 million since it went on sale in late November, according to “two people familiar with the publishing of the book.” Sergio Gor, the GOP operative who founded Winning Team Publishing last fall along with the ex-president’s son Donald Trump Jr., claims the book had an initial print run of 200,000 copies and is still selling like hotcakes:

“We still can’t keep up with the customers,” said Gor, who says they are now out of books and have issued requests for 300,000 more copies to be printed in three locations in the United States. Those printings are in the works, but people ordering “Our Journey Together” now likely won’t see copies arrive until late February or early March, said Gor. A current search for available books on the internet turns up nothing, save for copies being peddled by third parties. A signed copy on Amazon being sold as a “collectible” is listed at $1,749. Other signed copies on the auction website eBay range between $950 and $1,300.

It’s hard to know what to make of these claims since they’re largely coming from Team Trump. Gor is the only named source attesting to these figures in the CNN report (though the book is indeed sold out on Amazon and Barnes & Noble). In December, Donald Trump Jr. said, “I think it would easily qualify to be a New York Times No. 1 best seller.” And Trump himself boasted last week that the book was “very successful,” selling 240,000 copies despite publishing delays resulting from supply-chain issues (which he suggested wouldn’t be happening if he were still in office).

These numbers are certainly plausible — and in fact, they’re pretty low when compared with the sales of other presidential books. Barack Obama’s A Promised Land sold nearly 890,000 copies in the U.S. and Canada in its first 24 hours, according to the AP; Bill Clinton’s My Life sold about 400,000 copies in the same market in its first day, and George W. Bush’s Decision Points sold 220,000 copies on day one. Our Journey Together selling 200,000 copies in two months is modest even compared with other books about Trump: Mary Trump’s tell-all about her estranged uncle, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, sold 950,000 copies in its first day, per Forbes, and Bob Woodward’s Rage sold more than 600,000 copies in its first week of publication.

Perhaps it’s unfair to compare Trump’s picture book to these other works as they were all promoted by major publishers, who reportedly don’t want to work with the former president. (Our Journey Together is the only book put out by Winning Team Publishing so far.) And unlike his presidential predecessors, Trump wasn’t looking to write the final word on his presidency, which may not actually be over; in all likelihood, his latest foray into publishing was about making a quick buck since the ex-president has more than $590 million of debt coming due in the next few years.

Our Journey Together is actually quite impressive when you view it as a get-rich(er)-quick scheme rather than a presidential memoir. It took Obama nearly four years to pen the 800-page A Promised Land, and it’s only the first volume. Trump’s book came out less than a year after he left office, and CNN reports he only “spent several evenings at Mar-a-Lago going through the 8,000–9,000 photos Gor and his assistants had narrowed down for him, and even more nights signing the book when it came out.”

Donald Trump Jr. reportedly gave his dad a multimillion-dollar advance for his work on the book. Presumably, this did not come close to the record-breaking $65 million advance Barack and Michelle Obama received for their memoirs, but Our Journey Together is still turning a tidy profit thanks to its outrageous price tag. Obama’s last book had a suggested retail price of $45, while Trump’s book costs $74.99 for an unsigned copy or $229.99 for a signed copy. If Trump sold 200,000 books at Obama’s rate of $45 a pop, that would total a measly $9 million. But let’s say Trump sold that same number of books and a quarter were $229.99 signed copies while the rest went for $74.99: That would net $22.7 million altogether, which is in line with what Gor claims Team Trump has made from the book so far.

From Team Trump’s perspective, Obama is the real fool here. Why spend the next few years writing A Promised Land: Volume 2 when you can just scrawl some nasty remarks below photos of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and call it a book?

Team Trump Brags About Picture Book’s Mediocre Sales