Friday, May 30, 2008

McClellan book a surprise hit for many, even publishers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The allegations of deceit in Scott McClellan's book have been a surprise not only for Bush officials enraged with the former White House spokesman but also for publishers who turned down what is now the industry's hottest release.

"Books by spokespeople rarely contain anything newsworthy and have generally not proven particularly compelling to consumers," said Steve Ross, publisher of the Collins division of HarperCollins and head of the Crown Publishing Group at Random House Inc. at the time McClellan was offering his manuscript. "It was shopped around but, like others who publish in the category, we didn't even take a meeting based upon past history."

McClellan, a press secretary known for loyally defending President Bush on Iraq, Katrina and other issues, has written that his ex-boss misled the country about Iraq and calls the White House atmosphere "insular, secretive and combative."

"What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception" was No. 1 on Amazon.com and the publisher, Public Affairs, said that the printing has been doubled from 65,000 to 130,000.

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