Should the President be reading indies?
“Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories.”
–Arthur C. Clarke
I like that we get to see the President’s reading list..and just to be clear, that would be any President, not particularly the current one.
It tells the country and the world that the President of the USA reads recreationally…not a small message to send.
When I saw this year’s list, though, I was struck by one thing in particular. Here’s the list, as reported by the White House
- Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) by William Finnegan (from Penguin)
- The Underground Railroad (at AmazonSmile*) by Colson Whitehead (from Random House)
- H Is for Hawk (at AmazonSmile*) by Helen Macdonald (from Grove Press)
- The Girl on the Train (at AmazonSmile*) by Paula Hawkins (from Penguin USA)
- Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (from William Morrow/HarperCollins)
What stood out to me?
While they aren’t all from Big 5 publishers (Grove isn’t one), they are all traditionally published.
Now, that’s not really a surprise. These books are well known, and I’m sure a President doesn’t have much time to browse. 🙂
However, it could have really had an impact on an indie (independently published book) if the President had selected one.
I’m sure there are people who could have made a recommendation. 😉
I don’t have anything against mainstream published books. It’s just that it seems like this is a missed opportunity.
I was curious: in terms of the Kindle store, the highest any of these was ranked was #19 bestseller at time of writing. It’s a different situation in p-book (paperbook) bestsellers, and I would guess that at least some of the time, the President reads e-books…
One other comment: all of these publishers are headquartered in the USA. Penguin (a British company) merged with Random House, but the HQ is in New York. There are hundreds of indie books published in the USA Kindle store every month, and I would be sure the vast majority of those, if they make any money at all, are under USA tax jurisdiction, and tend to contribute to the USA economy.
What do you think? Were you surprised by any of the President’s choices? Do you think picking an indie or lesser-known book would have been a good thing? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.