Democracy Dies in Darkness

Books | Perspective

Omarosa’s ‘Unhinged’ is fading fast: Hardcover sales dropped 40 percent

August 29, 2018 at 9:34 AM

The air is running out of “Unhinged,” the tell-all memoir by former White House senior adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman.

Hardcover sales during the book’s second week fell by more than 40 percent.

“Unhinged” had a promising release on Aug. 14, largely due to loud opposition from President Trump, whose angry tweets about Manigault Newman kept his former colleague in the news for days.

As the highly critical book was being released, Trump seemed unable to resist complaining about the author publicly. He called her “Wacky and Deranged Omarosa” and said that no one in the White House liked her before she was fired. One of his infamous tweets referred to her as “that dog.”

For her part, Manigault Newman seemed to realize that the president’s unhinged rants were a marketing dream come true. In a series of TV appearances, she questioned his mental competency and suggested that he was racist and misogynist. She parceled out stories from her days in the White House and even released a secret tape recording of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly firing her.

Given all that presidential attention, “Unhinged” sold more than 33,000 copies in hardback during its first week.

But Trump has been more restrained this week, and Omarosa has had trouble attracting the same level of media attention. Her much-hyped revelations have failed to deliver the kind of shocking news needed to compete in Washington’s scandal-a-day atmosphere. Strip-mined of its most salacious details by news reports, the book may have a hard time finding additional readers.

Second-week sales frequently drop dramatically, as most authors and publishers have trouble maintaining the level of publicity that a newsworthy debut receives.

“Unhinged” will still place high on the bestseller list this week, but only because of a lack of fresh competitors. When the fall publishing season begins after Labor Day, a number of new titles should begin to dominate the list, and “Unhinged” will probably join that large body of flash-in-the-pan political memoirs.

Ron Charles writes about books for The Washington Post and hosts TotallyHipVideoBookReview.com.


Ron Charles writes about books for The Washington Post. Before moving to Washington, he edited the books section of the Christian Science Monitor in Boston.

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