The publication of former FBI director James Comey’s upcoming book about President Trump has been brought forward to tomorrow (Tuesday 17th April) to coincide with the US, after attracting widespread publicity over the weekend.
Contents from A Higher Loyalty (Pan MacMillan) were leaked last Friday after the Guardian accessed a copy from a New York bookseller. Interest in the title ramped up over the weekend after President Trump began criticising Comey on Twitter, and the book is currently sitting in second position in the Amazon.co.uk Bestseller chart, despite not being released until tomorrow.
A Pan Macmillan spokesperson told The Bookseller that the UK publication date had been pushed forward to Tuesday from Thursday (19th April), to match the US publishers Flatiron Books' release date, with the UK print run bumped up another 5,000 copies from Friday to 55,000.
Comey gave his first interview tied to publication of the book on ABC news on Sunday (15th April) describing Trump as “morally unfit” for presidency.
"A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they're pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it, that person's not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds," he told the American network.
Over the weekend Trump tweeted various dismissive remarks about Comey and the book. He said: “Slippery James Comey, a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!), will go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!
“I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty. I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies. His “memos” are self serving and FAKE!”
Interest in the title follows the frenzy around the publication of Michael Wolff’s Fire & Fury in January, which went on to soar up booksellers' pre-order charts before Little, Brown released it four days early.
Comey told his 897,000 Twitter followers on Sunday (15th April) that his book discusses other presidents as well as Trump. He said: “My book is about ethical leadership & draws on stories from my life & lessons I learned from others. 3 presidents are in my book: 2 help illustrate the values at the heart of ethical leadership; 1 serves as a counterpoint. I hope folks read the whole thing and find it useful.”
Jeremy Trevathan, publisher at Pan Macmillan said on Friday that US sister company Flatiron had printed 575,000 copies and "with anticipation running so high here" the UK publisher had increased its UK print run to 50,000 copies, which has now been extended again to 55,000.
He said that “people on both sides of the Atlantic are eager to hear what [Comey] has to say about these extraordinary times”.
In the book, Comey reportedly compares Trump’s presidency to a “forest fire” repeatedly and also paints Trump as a mafia-style boss.
It was also announced last week that Pan Macmillan and Waterstones are holding an exclusive pre-publication release and panel on Tuesday 17th April, hosted by Emily Maitlis with Jonathan Freedland, Anne McElvoy and Clodagh Harrington.
Comey served as director of the FBI from 2013 to 2017, appointed to the post by President Barack Obama. "From prosecuting the mafia and Martha Stewart to helping change Bush administration policies on torture and electronic surveillance, overseeing the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe and investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, Comey has been involved in some of the most consequential cases and policies of recent history", a Pan Mac spokesperson said.
Comey was dismissed in May 2017 while he was investigating whether Trump campaign members colluded with Russians to hack the 2016 election. It was the second time in US history an American president has fired an FBI director.