The explosive “insider’s account” on Donald Trump’s presidency making headlines around the world will go on sale in the UK today (5th January), four days early, publisher Little, Brown has confirmed to The Bookseller.
The decision on Friday morning follows the US publisher Henry Holt and Company's move yesterday to release the controversial Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House four days before its offiical publication on 9th January due to "unprecedented demand".
A spokesperson for Little, Brown said: "We're following the US and publishing as soon as we can, so our official publication date moves forward to today. Stock is in transit and will be available as soon as it reaches stores."
The Bookseller understands that UK retailers do not yet have stock of the title and are eager to receive it promptly. US retailers have already started selling the book after more than 250,000 copies were shipped ahead of publication. Earlier this morning Waterstones, Blackwell's and wholesaler Gardners were still waiting to hear when they would receive stock.
Waterstones m.d. James Daunt said he expected to have a “decent number” to sell by next week (10th January). “We have been rubbing our hands together thinking ‘this is fantastic’," Daunt said. He was relaxed about the fact that the UK publication was lagging behind the US. “We will hopefully get it here in print before any order from the US would arrive," he said. "Of course I suppose people could get it here on Kindle here quickly, but we will still sell a lot of copies."
Waterstones buying director Kate Skipper believes Little, Brown is doing “everything it can” to respond quickly to the situation. “It’s clearly a fast-moving situation in the US but Little, Brown are doing everything they can to respond and we’re very appreciative of their efforts,” she said. “We’re looking forward to selling it. It’s fantastic to see a book driving headlines on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Trade buying manager at Blackwell’s, Katharine Fry, said the book represented a “great opportunity” to notch up sales during a normally quiet time of the year. “We're very keen to get this available to our customers and looking forward to receiving stock. This is of considerable interest to them and this presents a great opportunity for the first quarter,” she said.
The title was due for publication on Tuesday (9th January), but US publisher Henry Holt & Company gave the green light late yesterday afternoon (4th January) for US booksellers to release it four days early after “unprecedented demand”.
The book has been making the headlines since Wednesday when the Guardian published a story on its controversial contents after obtaining a leaked copy from a bookseller in New England, US. Shortly afterwards the book began to soar up the pre-order charts on Amazon and other retailers in the US and the UK.
Henry Holt has gone ahead with publication despite Trump’s lawyers attempting to ban sales of the title by issuing cease and desist letters first to Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist who is quoted in it, and then yesterday afternoon to Holt & Co and author Wolff, alleging the book was defamatory and could constitute a possible invasion of privacy.
The US publisher’s decision came after bookselling chain Barnes & Noble was preparing to begin selling the book on Friday (5th January) anyway without formal permission, according to the Wall Street Journal. Around 250,000 copies of the title had already been shipped to retailers in preparation for publication, reported the Guardian.
A spokeswoman for Holt & Co said: “Henry Holt confirms that we received a cease and desist letter from an attorney for President Trump. We see Fire and Fury as an extraordinary contribution to our national discourse, and are proceeding with the publication of the book.”
Wolff tweeted: “Here we go. You can buy it (and read it) tomorrow. Thank you, Mr President.”
Trump responded by tweeting that he had never granted Wolff access to the White House and described the book as “phony” as well as “full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist”.
Based on more than 200 interviews and “unprecedented” access to the White House, in the expose Bannon dubs a meeting between Donald Trump Jr and a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign "treasonous". He is also quoted calling Ivanka Trump "dumb as a brick” and the book also claims that Ivanka holds ambitions of becoming the first female president. Other claims include that Trump talked about sleeping with friends' wives, and that he swore at a female attorney general for refusing to enforce his immigration ban.
Organisations including the American Booksellers Association (ABA) and the Authors Guild have condemned Trump's attempts to silence author Wolff and his 200 interviewees, respectively branding legal action as "an appalling abuse of executive power" and "flagrantly unconstitutional".
ABA c.e.o. Oren Teicher called attempts to quash publication through legal action an "unprecedented and dangerous attempt by President Trump to stop publication of a book", which could have "chilling" repercussions for free speech.
"Not only would it would deter authors and publishers from publishing future books about this president (and any future sitting president), it would also directly undercut our nation’s cultural and political legacy of a vigorous exchange and debate of ideas, the hallmark of a healthy democracy,” Teicher said. "ABA staunchly defends the freedom of publishers to publish and sell the titles they deem appropriate, whether it is a book from a controversial author, or whether it is about a sitting president. The First Amendment exists to protect readers from exactly this kind of over-reach."
The Authors Guild said it was "dismayed" by the attempts made by the president to block publication of the book, and furthermore said it was "flagrantly unconstitutional". It went on to "applaud" Henry Holt & Co for standing behind the project.
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