Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Books as battle ground - by Bob Hoover

Scripps Howard News Service They've been arriving regularly since early spring, first in a trickle, now in a steady stream and by the end of August, a flood.

Inspired by the ongoing U.S. occupation of Iraq, the Bush administration's war on terror and domestic policies, the performance of the news media and the vicious partisan nature of today's politics, mainstream publishers are releasing an unusual amount of books on current affairs.

'Ten years ago, political books didn't sell very well,' said Patricia Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers. 'Now, in the last three or four years, the sales are off the charts. Look at the last election with the Al Frankens, Michael Moores, Bill O'Reillys. The publishers know this and they're responding.'

Schroeder, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives _ and a Democrat _ also brought up best-selling books by one-time Bush administration officials like former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Environmental Protection Agency Director Christine Todd Whitman.

'I call it their 'exit strategy.' These people are loyal until they leave the corral and then they can write a controversial book,' she laughed.

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