A fascinating report by PW’s editor Jim Milliot from booksellers in the field on the editions of The Mueller Report now coming out. Scribner, Melville House, and Skyhorse had each announced print/ebook versions during the many months leading up to the report’s intensely anticipated release. Because they were only finally able to get their hands on the manuscript last Thursday—when corrupt Attorney General Barr finally deigned to let it be published—it’s been very challenging for them to get the book in to stores. Of the three I’ve only seen Scribner’s in a store so far. I found it it in a B&N yesterday, a big fat trade paperback printed on not-great paper with a white cover. I intend to buy the one coming from Melville House, which according to the article should be in stores Monday. It will be close to a mass-market size paperback. I’ve been following a multi-day thread live-tweeting the design, typesetting, and production of the Melville House edition by co-publisher Dennis Johnson (a great follow on Twitter, @mobylives), which he began writing last week as he and colleagues received the text in PDF and embarked on making it in to their distinctive rendition of of this vital document, an imperative book, indeed.
Publishing the Mueller Report, cont.: Design is a point worth lingering on. There will be multiple editions of this public domain doc by publishers who look at it & see nothing but $$ — esp if they get it out fast. They won't spend a moment on design or layout …
— Dennis Johnson (@MobyLives) April 22, 2019
Crashing Mueller, cont.: We nailed it. Beautifully designed, easily searchable. much more readable typefaces and layout. This is going to be the ebook version of the Mueller Report to beat. It took us longer than the other publishers, but readers will say it was worth the wait. pic.twitter.com/KSU19tyEPY
— Dennis Johnson (@MobyLives) April 26, 2019
The Skyhorse edition may have begun landing in stores, but I haven’t seen it yet. That edition displays a questionable choice for Introducer: the odious Alan Dershowitz, frequent Trump partisan and FOX News regular. An ill-advised choice when you consider that FOX News viewers, even ones fervently appreciative of Dershowitz’s rhetorical support of the dangerous prez are not apt to buy a copy of The Mueller Report at all. They tell themselves and each other that the Trump-Russia connections are all made up anyway. Those FOX people would buy a report on Hillary Clinton, but that’s definitely not what we have here.
OTOH, the great majority of people buying the Mueller Report in book form are going to be critics of Trump who’ve been following #TrumpRussia avidly for more than two years; folks who detest Trump and want to see the end of his presidency will be apt to want either the Scribner edition, with commentary by Post reporters, or an edition that has nothing but the text of Mueller’s report, intelligently designed and typeset for an optimal reading experience, the Melville House edition. Why would they want to buy an edition with Dershowitz’s questionable gloss on it—a very-likely-to-be-tendentious view of events apt to let Trump off the hook despite his egregious misdeeds and transgressions? Indeed, there’s a funny line in the penultimate graf of Milliot’s story:
James Fugate, co-owner of Eso Wan Books in Los Angeles, also believes the report will sell very well. “There is huge demand for this book, and I have at least 10 preorders for this,” he said. “We ordered 50 each of the Scribner edition and the Melville House. I won’t touch the Skyhorse edition with the Dershowitz introduction.”