November 30, 2008

Obama focus of at least 24 new books

Book publishers are set to publish at least 24 books connected to U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, literary officials say.

Political literary agent Gail Ross said the increase in Obama books likely comes from society's love of stories involving a gallant hero who saves the day or a menacing villain, Politico reported Saturday.

Bush books worked when he became a villain, Ross said of U.S. President George W. Bush, adding that Obama appears to currently wear the social mantle of potential hero.

For HarperCollins executive editor Tim Duggan, the interest in books about Obama has more to do with race than hero-villain clashes.

No matter what the state of the book industry, or the state of the economy, the idea of the new African American president coming into office is exciting, Duggan said.

Ross said, no matter what a publisher's motivation for backing each book is, every release encapsulates the hope that Obama detailed in his electoral platform.

Every time an editor picks a book, they are making a bet, she told Politico.

Instead of hope we can believe in, it's hope we can bet on.