On Tuesday, the Trump campaign sent out a fundraising email telling recipients that Trump’s masterwork—his memoir The Art of the Deal—is out of print and the only way to acquire the book is to donate $184 to the Trump campaign. Trump’s website features a similar call to action:
There’s only one problem: The Art of the Deal is not out of print. In fact, Ballantine Books, its publisher, reprinted it last fall. (For a publisher labeling a book out of print is a big deal—even if no copies are currently available, if a publisher has plans to reprint the book sometime in the future, it is not considered to be “out of print.”) When asked if the book was still in print, a Random House spokesperson confirmed that its edition was still very much in print. You can snag a copy on Amazon for $10.19—though, unlike the ones Trump is hawking, that copy won’t be signed. In any case, Trump claiming that his most successful book—his only successful book, really—is out of print is still very strange.
So what’s going on? It’s possible that the Trump campaign is taking lessons from the book and trying to make their deal seem like the only one in town. A less likely but more appealing theory is that Trump is trying to screw over the book’s ghostwriter, Tony Schwartz, by starting the rumor that it’s out of print. (In a long New Yorker profile Schwartz slammed Trump and said he regretted ever working on the book.) Another more straightforward explanation is that the edition that Trump is peddling is not the one that’s on sale in bookstores nationwide.
That would seem to answer the question—Trump is simply selling a different, out-of-print edition of the book. Except there’s one problem: A hardcover edition hasn’t been in circulation for years. It’s still technically possible that he’s selling a hardcover edition from The Art of the Deal’s original run, but that would imply that Trump was holding hundreds, if not thousands, of copies of the book in storage for years.
I’ve reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.