Not surprisingly, books by and about conservatives are quite in demand these days. The substantial $4.5 million advance HarperCollins was willing to pay Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R) of Georgia for two forthcoming nonfiction books is perhaps just one indication.
But even before the Republican victory last fall, books with a conservative message were fairing well. What began three years ago with Rush Limbaugh's successful foray into writing has led more recently to bestsellers like ``The Bell Curve'' a controversial look at the relationship between class, race, and intelligence in America by Charles Murray and the late Richard Herrnstein.
Published in October by the Free Press - home of many conservative authors - the 845-page book has an impressive 400,000 copies in print.
John Ekizian, publicity director for the Free Press, attributes interest in such books to the absence of conservative voices in the information mix. ``It finally became clear that the right was not getting coverage in other areas of the media,'' he explains. When that happened, he says, people looked to books to fill in the gaps.
Publisher Adam Bellow, son of Nobel Prize-winner Saul Bellow, and his Free Press will continue to help fill those gaps with upcoming books by Dinesh D'Souza, Michael Lind, and others.
On the lighter side, several presses have just published paperback collections of Mr. Gingrich's public comments on selected subjects. ``Newtisms'' (Pocket Books, 94 pp., $5) and ``Newtwit!'' (Doubleday, 95 pp., $4.99) share the same subtitle - ``The Wit and Wisdom of Newt Gingrich'' - and briefly cover topics from affirmative action to welfare. ``Quotations from Speaker Newt,'' (Workman, 186 pp., $5.95), a parody of the 1960s book ``Quotations from Chairman Mao,'' includes a chronology of Gingrich's life and a copy of the Contract With America.