In Defense of Donald Trump’s $230 Picture Book

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Like many, I snickered upon learning this morning that Donald Trump’s first official postpresidential tome, titled Our Journey Together, is an overpriced picture book consisting of 300 photos from his presidency and some Sharpie-scrawled notes from DJT himself. “My father picked every single photo in this book, wrote all the captions, including some by hand,” Donald Trump Jr. boasted to Axios.

A preview of Our Journey Together. Photo: 45Books

The book is currently available for preorder from Winning Team Publishing, a venture formed by Donald Trump Jr. and Sergio Gor, for the outrageous price of $74.99 for an unsigned copy or $229.99 for a signed copy.

Is it hilarious that Trump, who notoriously prefers single-page memos with bullet points and plenty of graphics, is releasing a coffee-table book with lots of pictures and few words rather than the traditional postpresidential memoir? Certainly. But upon further reflection, this is the perfect move for him.

After leaving the White House, the last few presidents released lengthy tomes that drew heavy media coverage. In 2004, Bill Clinton dropped the 1056-page brick My Life. Six years later, George W. Bush put out Decision Points, which got this review from his own dad: “Good. I think he did a good job of selling the darn thing. He’s been out there all over the place. But I liked it.” And one year ago, Barack Obama released A Promised Land, which somehow came to 768 pages even though it ended in May 2011 with the killing of Osama bin Laden (the release date for the planned second volume has yet to be announced).

A release of this sort wasn’t really an option for Trump — for two reasons. First, major publishing houses are said to be wary of striking a deal to publish his memoir, though Trump administration books are clearly a hit. “The underlying fear is that whatever Trump would write wouldn’t be truthful,” Politico reported in June. Second, you usually write a memoir once your time in office has concluded, and Trump is still teasing a 2024 comeback.

So I appreciate what Trump is doing here. Is this book, as the Daily Beast indelicately put it, an attempt to “fleece dumbasses in time for Christmas”? Sure. But Trump is a guy who hocks pointless MAGA cards and funnels donor money back into his own businesses; this is actually one of his more honest money-making ventures of late. And as the not-so-proud owner of the 29-hour A Promised Land audiobook, which I never even started, you won’t hear me calling anyone a dumbass for buying the hot new release from their favorite president.

In Defense of Donald Trump’s $230 Picture Book