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Disclosures: Obama and Reid Books Trumped McCain's

Updated 5:46 p.m.
By Dan Eggen
Barack Obama not only beat John McCain at the ballot box last year, he also crushed him in the bookstores.

McCain reported earning $20,539 in royalties last year from two of his books that were on the shelves during his GOP presidential run: "Character is Destiny" from 2005 and "Faith of My Fathers" from 1999, according to new financial disclosure forms released by the Senate today.The Arizona senator donated the proceeds to charity, according to the reports.

The royalty numbers for McCain stand in stark contrast to President Obama, who reported earning about $2.6 million last year from the sales of his two books, "The Audacity of Hope" from 2006 and "Dreams From My Father" from 1995. Those royalties came on top of $4.1 million in book income in 2007, placing Obama among the ranks of nation's highest-earning nonfiction authors. Both books have since dropped from the top of the nonfiction bestseller lists, but continue to sell briskly.

McCain reports no royalty income at all for his three other major books: 2007's "Hard Call," 2004's "Why Courage Matters" (2004) and 2002's "Worth the Fighting For." All of McCain's books have been co-authored with Mark Salter, the senator's longtime aide and confidante.

McCain's relatively low royalty numbers have a number of possible explanations, including the fact that his latest book was first released as his campaign was running into serious trouble and that royalty payments are not usually distributed by calendar year. McCain also shares proceeds from his book with his co-author.

Nonetheless, to add insult to injury, McCain was also beat out in the royalties race by another prominent Democrat: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) reported $136,000 in income from "The Good Fight," which was released in May 2008.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 12, 2009; 2:54 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Barack Obama , John McCain  
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I gave DOMF to my sister for a Xmas resent last year. She thoroughly enjoyed it. I ave both DOMY and TAOH. I am amazed McCain's book did not sell better thanit did.

It makes me wonder how well Scarborough's book will do and the new book about Kennedy's will do.

I heard Coulters book has plummbeted in sales as well.

Posted by: prosperity2un2000 | June 13, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I've just had a call on the popularity of Harry Red's book. There's some feeling it's being deeply discounted as a supposedly humorous Christmas party grab-bag gag gift. I would think "I, McGoo" would be a success for this, too. For sure, Mr McGoo is far more amusing than Harry Red.

Posted by: HassanAliAl-Hadoodi | June 12, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't find "I, McGoo" on the net or elsewhere. At the same time, who would buy Red Harry's book? The President's works are well written and lyrical in tone. His success is understandable?

Posted by: HassanAliAl-Hadoodi | June 12, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Only in America can an unaccomplished slacker publish not one but two books about himself -- and in the process become a multimillionaire -- and then hate the country that made it possible.

What a supremely weird creature this Oboobma is.

Posted by: zjr78xva | June 12, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

"when evidence strongly suggests that it was ghost-written by Bill Ayers."

OMG. I didn't realize people actually bought that line. What did PT Barnum say about the American Public? Actually, I heard that Osama bin Ladin wrote the Foreward and Satan signed the first copy . . .

Pitchman99, take a look at other books that have made the NY Times #1 non-fiction slot. You'll have to agree, it's not necessarily any guarantee of quality. It's rather an indicator of how very few people buy hardback non-fiction.

Posted by: nodebris | June 12, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

It's not really accurate to consider Barack Obama to be the author of "Dreams from My Father" when evidence strongly suggests that it was ghost-written by Bill Ayers.

Posted by: wapo9 | June 12, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Ahh, this is great. But the question I have is how did the libs fair against "THE GREAT ONE" Mark Levin's new book "Liberty and Tyranny?" I haven't heard much from the media about this conservative manifesto which has been #1 on the NY Times best seller list for 10 of the last eleven weeks.


Posted by: PitchMan99 | June 12, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

The way the royalty figures are presented is not arbitrary or meaningless; both men were candidates for president last year and their books were well-featured in many bookstores at the same time. One could reasonably conclude that the bulk of sales for which royalties were reported (that is, 2008) would have occurred during the campaign cycle.

Posted by: dbitt | June 12, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Would it be asking too much to compare royalties for comparable years after publication. The way the piece is presented it seems pointless.

Posted by: Gator-ron | June 12, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

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