James Comey’s political memoir beats rivals at bookstores


The Trump-bashing FBI directors memoir, A Higher Loyalty, has sold 600,000 in its first week at bookshops

First-week sales of the former FBI director James Comey’s memoir have topped 600,000 copies in the US, eclipsing the initial performances of recent political bestsellers by Michael Wolff and Hillary Clinton.

Comey’s A Higher Loyalty, which publisher Flatiron Books says explores “what good, ethical leadership looks like, and how it drives sound decisions”, and which a Guardian review said likens Donald Trump to “an ignorant thug whose tantrums and rants make up for gnawing personal insecurities”, was published on 17 April. Flatiron president Bob Miller and publisher Amy Einhorn report it has sold more than 600,000 copies so far, with more than 1m copies now in print, making it this week’s number one bestselling title in the US.

Top of the heap … copies of James Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty, at a Washington DC bookshop. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Clinton’s memoir What Happened sold more than 300,000 copies in its first week on sale, while Wolff’s White House exposé, Fire and Fury, sold around 200,000 copies first off, according to the New York Times. Fire and Fury has gone on to sell more than 2m copies, the paper reports.

In the UK, A Higher Loyalty notched up sales of 9,520 in its first week, according to Nielsen BookScan, making it the No 1 bestselling hardback non-fiction title, and the eighth best-selling book overall.

The memoir details Comey’s career, from prosecuting the mafia and lifestyle guru Martha Stewart to his tenure as director of the FBI, from 2013 to 2017, when he was fired by President Trump. Trump has responded to the book on Twitter, writing that Comey “totally made up many of the things he said I said, and he is already a proven liar and leaker”.

After Amazon.com was flooded with one-star reviews for Clinton’s memoir last year, subsequently removing reviews because they “violate[d]” its customer guidelines, the bookseller has restricted reviews of A Higher Loyalty to verified purchasers. Of almost 1,000 reviews of the book to date, 90% were five stars.

Peter Conrad, writing in the Guardian, said Comey “portrays himself as both high-minded and willing to share his own pratfalls”. New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, meanwhile, bemoaned the memoir’s “catty” details. “I believe most and maybe all of what Comey has to say, and much of it needs saying, as an answer to the president’s lies and an exposure – affirmation might be the better word – of who and what Trump is. But in succumbing to this showboating and spite, hasn’t Comey joined Trump almost as much as he’s defying him?”

According to this week’s figures, Comey is not so much joining Trump as beating him. Trump biographer Timothy O’Brien reports the former Apprentice host’s 1987 book on business, The Art of the Deal, had a first print run of just 150,000 copies.

Read more: www.theguardian.com


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