This week the newly released book “A Warning” written by an anonymous White House senior official, knocked Donald Trump Jr’s book “Triggered” out of the top spot on the New York Times Best Seller’s List.
Trump Jr’s book only held the number one spot because of bulk sales from the Trump family’s Republican allies.
Trump Jr’s book debuted at number one, but on the list beside the title was a dagger symbol. The dagger symbol denotes “institutional, special interest, group or bulk purchases.”
One can never say for sure who — there’s a lot of strategic bulk-buying in publishing, especially political books — but *someone* (or someones) is doing bulk purchases of the new #1 NYT bestseller “Triggered.” pic.twitter.com/fpghtc5Yef
— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) November 14, 2019
Soon after the book was released it became public knowledge that the Republican National Committee purchased nearly $100,000 of books in a bulk order.
New York Times reporter Nick Confessore published a Federal Election Commission disclosure that revealed that the RNC had purchased thousands of Trump Jr’s books.
Confessore kept looking into the sales of “Triggered” and soon discovered that at least nine conservative groups made a large bulk purchase of the book.
“Here’s a pic I was sent of boxes of ‘Triggered’ sitting in the offices of Turning Point USA, a student group with close Trumpworld ties,” he tweeted with a photo of dozens of boxes of books lining the walls of an office.
Here’s a pic I was sent of boxes of “Triggered” sitting in the offices of Turning Point USA, a student group with close Trumpworld ties. pic.twitter.com/7Isaj3YYcM
— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) November 28, 2019
In total Turning Point USA bought close to 2,000 copies of the book.
Total Turning Point was just one of nine Republican groups, candidates or advocacy organizations that bought “Triggered” in bulk to help get Trump Jr. On the top of the best seller’s list according to FEC filings that the Times obtained.
Some of those nine groups have used the books to boost fundraising, events. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) bought up $75,000 in copies of the book, which a spokesman shared led to $200,000 in “contributions.” The National Republican Senatorial Committee bought an estimated 2,500 books.
Citizens United, which is a group run by David Bossie, Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, offered “Triggered” to donors. Individual Republicans also pushed the book.
Rep. Matt Gaetz made an appearance at a book tour stop for the book and promoted the appearance to his campaign mailing list. A super PAC for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also offered free copies of the book to anyone who donated at least $35.
In Texas and Arizona state Republicans promoted “Triggered” and its book tour to their mailing lists. The Texas Republican Party bought a bulk order of books that they gave out as “gifts” to attendees.
Andy Surabian Trump Jr’s spokesperson, that the bulk sales were not a factor in the book’s No. 1 debut.
“In its opening week, ‘Triggered’ outsold its closest competition by roughly 40,000 copies and clearly would have been No. 1 on the NYT list without the copies sold through the RNC and other GOP-aligned organizations,” he said. “Don is proud of the fact that the demand for ‘Triggered’ has been so high that it has allowed groups like the RNC, NRSC and the NRCC to net hundreds of thousands of dollars through their marketing of the book.”
Publishers consider the practice of bulk sales unfair to authors who rely on organic sales.
“The fact that it is preventing other authors from getting the recognition that they should rightfully be receiving is a bit unfair,” Morgan Entrekin, the CEO of publisher Grove Atlantic, told the New York Times.
The RNC did not purchase books through the publisher but made its order through BooksAMillion. RNC could have gotten the books cheaper through the publisher, but buying them through the book store made it appear as if the sales were “real” sales.
New FEC disclosures show a single large RNC payment of $94,800 to Books-a-Million in October, a few days before "Triggered" was released. An RNC spokesman confirmed that the expenditure was connected to their promotion of Don Trump Jr.'s book. pic.twitter.com/vsmmsgrYCp
— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) November 21, 2019
Donald Trump used the same strategy when his book “The Art of the Deal” was published. The Trump Organization purchased “tens of thousands” of copies of the book.