Big Publishing Pushes Out Trump’s Last Fan

From The New York Times:

If you were a certain kind of distinctly Trumpy public figure — say Donald Trump Jr. or Corey Lewandowski — looking to sell a book over the last four years, there were surprisingly few options. The Big Five publishing companies in New York, and even their dedicated conservative imprints, had become squeamish about the genre known as MAGA books, with its divisive politics and relaxed approach to facts. And small conservative publishers probably couldn’t afford you.

So if, like the younger Mr. Trump in 2018, you found yourself rejected by most New York publishers, there was one last stop: a corner cubicle in the fifth-floor offices of the Hachette Book Group in Midtown Manhattan. There, Kate Hartson, the editorial director of the conservative Center Street imprint, was the one mainstream editor who would buy what no one else would — and make a tidy profit for her employer.

Ms. Hartson, a fit 67-year-old who once ran a small press specializing in dogs, had all the trappings of a liberal book editor, including an apartment on the Upper East Side and a place in Hampton Bays. But she also seemed to be that rarest of figures in New York media: a true believer in Donald J. Trump, people who worked with her said. She published “Triggered” by Donald Trump Jr., Mr. Lewandowski’s “Trump: America First: The President Succeeds Against All Odds” and the work of other Trump die-hards like the Fox News host Jeanine Pirro and Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker.

But Hachette, like The New York Times and other media companies, has been torn in recent years between the politics of its staff and its historic commitment to publishing conservative speech. Its liberal proprietors, of course, always abhorred the conservative content while cashing the checks. At Hachette, this meant employees having their salaries paid by Donald Trump Jr. while objecting to publishing liberals who had fallen out of favor, like Woody Allen or J.K. Rowling.

Ms. Hartson’s list was a somewhat more direct attack on her colleagues’ politics. The last book she bought was the forthcoming “Woke Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam,” by Vivek Ramaswamy. And so last month, even as Ms. Hartson was riding high with the best-selling political book on Amazon, “Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy,” Hachette fired her.

The official reasons for Ms. Hartson’s termination, two people familiar with it said, were mundane. But she told associates that she believed she’d been fired for her politics. In a Zoom meeting with employees on Jan. 26, the chief executive of Hachette Book Group, Michael Pietsch, and Daisy Hutton, the executive who oversees Center Street, didn’t mention Ms. Hartson. But they reassured employees that they had learned the lessons of the Capitol siege of Jan. 6: no hate speech, no incitement to violence, no false narratives. And they’ve separately made clear to both editors and agents that they’re shifting back toward think tank conservatives, and away from fire-breathing politicians. (Ms. Hartson didn’t respond to questions about her views and her firing.)

“The conservative movement is in a state of flux, and the next few years will be a particularly rich time for conversation about the future of conservatism in America,” Ms. Hutton, who is based in Nashville and whose background is primarily in Christian publishing, said in an email. “Center Street will continue to publish thoughtful, provocative, lively and informative books that contribute meaningfully to the shaping of that conversation.”

Hachette is hardly the only mainstream publisher steering away from MAGA books. Simon & Schuster invoked its “morals” clause to cancel the publication of a book by Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, after he objected to the results of the November election and cheered the protests right before violence broke out. Simon & Schuster, two sources familiar with its plans said, will also stop publishing the right-wing activist Candace Owens.

Link to the rest at The New York Times

It appears to PG that Hachette and other members of Big Publishing have decided that some things are just more important than publishing books that a great many Americans enjoy buying and reading.

“Not our sort of customers, you know.”

Large advances notwithstanding, PG suggests this is yet another shot in the arm for Amazon’s sales.

And one more reason to reopen fewer physical bookstores when the lockdowns in various locations lift enough to allow for most individuals to think about whether they want to go to a local bookstore and look at books for old times sake.

Perhaps combining bookstores with antique stores might be a good marketing move.

As PG mentioned a day or two ago, he and the French language began a difficult relationship when he was a fainéant during an introductory French class in college, but he didn’t recall that hachette was a synonym for belette.

That said, PG needs to leave off using his French language skills to trash others.

6 thoughts on “Big Publishing Pushes Out Trump’s Last Fan”

  1. I cannot imagine this is about their brand. I doubt the casual reader ever looks or cares as to who is the publisher. PG probably does. I do. But, where in the biz. Is it their patriotic fervor or duty to a leftist ideology that they feel the need to this? Is it punishment against the evil conservatives?

    Let’s just hope my local Tom Thumb does not decide to check political affiliation from suppliers or customers because I really like that store. My wife no longer shops at Kroger because they pulled her beloved Mr. My Pillow over his Trump leanings. I hope shoppers feel much safer shopping at Kroger knowing My Pillow is not on the endcap.

    Geez, these people. When will it end?

    • 2024.
      They seem to forget that in a battle of bases, against the “most disliked candidate evah”, they barely eked out a tie in the Senate by offering $2000 if they won, they lost the bulk of their majority in the House, and the WH was decided by a few thousand votes here and there.

      It is doubtful they can repeat any of that against Haley, Paul, Rubio, Romney, or even a corpse.
      Not when their first was putting thousands out of work. To say nothing of the next dozen things…?

      Pendulums swing both ways and this one is way overdue.
      What is going to be hard, world building-wise, is figuring out how far the reaction will go.

  2. “A relaxed approach to facts…” I am constantly amazed that the people doing the most labeling are usually guilty of those same labels. (But then Hermann Hesse taught us that long ago.)


  3. J.K. Rowling is out of favor? Someone should tell the people still buying Harry Potter books, movies, and merchandise.

    As for the “no hate speech, no incitements of violence, no false narratives,” the folks at Hachette need look no further than their favorite Democrat politician, most of whom perpetuate all three no-nos on that list.

    Yes, Maxine Waters, even you. Especially you. We’ve all seen those videos, though you seem to have forgotten them.

    Those on the political left have given a whole new meaning to the word “hypocrisy” in the past twelve years.

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