Publishers cash in on Obama book boom
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The literati are back in charge of Washington as sales of books by, related to or merely mentioned by Barack Obama rocket ahead of the author-politician's entry into the White House.
Tomes by Obama himself occupy the top three spots on the New York Times bestseller list of paperback non-fiction books. A gushing illustrated tribute to the Democrat tops the newspaper's list of children's books.
Over on Amazon.com, the bestselling work of history is "Team of Rivals," an examination of Abraham Lincoln's cabinet by Doris Kearns Goodwin. At number eight and rising is Newsweek journalist Jonathan Alter's "The Defining Moment," which looks at the first 100 days of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency.
Lincoln and FDR books have disappeared off shelves after Obama, in an interview with CBS program "60 Minutes," mentioned that he was reading books about two other presidents who came to office in a time of crisis.
Next year marks the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth in 1809, and the theme of Obama's inauguration ceremony on January 20 will be "A New Birth of Freedom" -- words taken from the revered president's immortal Gettysburg Address.
Readers are intrigued not just by Obama's own words but by those of his celebrated predecessors as they work out his intentions in office to cope with two wars and an economy in a tailspin.
"This is part of a broader interest in Obama, trying to get into his mind and learn about how he sees the world," Zelizer told AFP. "And this is the Oprah (Winfrey) book era, where people love top 10 lists and featured books," he said.