What sells books? A nod from Obama

Wow, the power that he wields! Not only have Barack Obama's own books ("Dreams from My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope") become bestsellers, but it's looking now as if any book he mentions has the potential to fly off bookstore shelves.

Today's issue of industry newsletter Publisher's Lunch notes that:

"Barack Obama mentioned his respect for Doris Kearns Goodwin's book 'Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln' many times as a candidate, and now it looks as if the President-elect has promoted his first bestseller (by another author). With the title theme dominating media discussion of Obama's potential Cabinet selections, Goodwin's book has now cracked the top 20 at both Amazon (currently at No. 12, even though the paperback is out of stock there until November 23) and BN.com (now at No. 11). Our tracking shows the paperback broke through the top 100 on both sites right after the election. Even the hardcover edition is now in the top 100 at both sites."

Readers now picking up copies of "Team of Rivals" may be hoping for insight into the future look of an Obama administration. Goodwin's book tells how Lincoln co-opted his former political rivals by including them in his government. What could be more relevant last week as Obama held meetings with both Hillary Clinton and John McCain?

When it comes to his literary tastes, however, Obama gets a warning today from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman. In the same piece that reveals that Obama is a "collector" (i.e., hard core fan) of Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comic books, Norman writes : "When Mr. Obama takes the oath of office on Jan. 20, he will be the first president in history to have Peter Parker's mantra – penned by Stan Lee – going through his head: 'With great power comes great responsibility.' "

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