tv About Books About Books CSPAN November 6, 2021 7:30pm-8:01pm EDT
>> host: welcome to add about books. in this episode we will talk to longtime publisher margie ross and look at some of the latest books by current and former members of congress. but first, let's start with this week's publishing industry news. the new president of the publishing house for strauss and jarreau joins a growing group of women that have taken over leadership roles at large publishing houses including dana canady and simon & schuster, lisa lucas at pantheon and adrian vaughn at bloomsbury usa. in other news, reuters reports french legislation takes aim at amazon shipping costs to customers in the country. currently french law prohibits discounting the price of new books and free shipping. amazon charges 1% to get around that and the new legislation
would set a minimum delivery fee the french ministry of culture commenting, quote, this law is necessary to regulate the distorted competition in online book sales and prevent the inevitable monopoly that will emerge if the status quo persists. amazon argues that it will hurt customers in the rural areas. in other news, performing artists have started a lending library of rare books by black writers and artists. the library collection named after the studio contains 50 books that are available on a first-come first serve basis. the inaugural collection has been selected by rosa duffy who owns the atlanta bookstore. for more information on the new bookshop, go to huron.com.
according to npd bookscan, print book sales were up close to 3% last week. they are up almost 11% to date. joining us now to offer her thoughts on the current state of publishing is long time regnery president and publisher margie ross. when did you leave regnery and what are you doing these days? >> guest: thanks for asking, peter. i left, i stepped down in january of 2020 and moved to the country in central virginia and started my own little book publishing consulting business. >> host: what kind of authors are you working with; are you working with publishers? >> guest: i'm working with both. actually i'm working with publishers and authors. it's a lot of fun. i get to spend more time doing the part of book publishing that i really love, which is helping authors make sure their books
are impactful and interesting and relevant and compelling and well positioned for their brand and i get to spend all my time working with publishers and authors on developing great books. >> host: your years at regnery, who were some of the authors that you published? >> guest: be published pretty much every leader and a celebrity author you can think of on the conservative side of the aisle, so that includes david limbaugh, dinesh desousa, newt gingrich, dennis prager, michelle nelkin, and coulter, laura ingram, molly hemingway, sebastian gorka, david horowitz, mark stein, mark levin, the list is long, and it was an amazing opportunity for me to work
one-on-one with so many influential, interesting and provocative authors. >> one that you didn't mention was donald trump. >> we did publish donald trump, a book called time to get tough that really set the stage honestly for his presidential run. we published that back in 2011 when he flirted with the idea of running and then decided not to but that was the beginning of him speaking out on sort of national and international political issues. >> host: in a previous conversation that you and i had, you mentioned once he declared in 2016 he was running for president you went back and read his old stuff and saw no discrepancies.
>> guest: that is such an interesting thing. the reason i went back and read his old stuff is when he declared he was going to run we thought we published this book maybe we should publish the paperback edition. that seemed like a good marketing decision at this point and so we thought maybe we will have two updated and changed a lot of things and it was remarkable to me going back to that book that has been written three or four years earlier and there was nothing that he had sent back that he wasn't still saying in 2015 during his campaign. that really impressed me and as we know with politicians that isn't always true but he isn't your conventional politician so that is just one more way that he broke the mold. >> host: was it tough for regnery to be unapologetically conservative and stick to that
principle? >> guest: i think i would say no. i think it's tougher to try to play to a lot of different audiences. it's tougher to not know who you are and not lean into your brand. it's much tougher to not to be clear about who your audience is and targeted audience is. as you said we are unapologetically conservative. most of the people who work at regnery have been and are conservative. so i think we are able to promise authors and readers and deliver to the authors and readers a kind of understanding of the market and rapport with the market and empathy for the market that very few other publishers have. >> host: margie ross ever since leaving regnery has been sending out a weekly newsletter
you can read on margie nospaceco ross.com. do you feel a little bit unleashed or is it the same as when you were a publisher? >> guest: i probably feel a little bit unleashed. there's nothing that i didn't say that i couldn't speak as a publisher and have sort of changed my point of view. but it's certainly true that i have more latitude and flexibility running my own shop and i'm not sure that is true for everyone. my blog has been a work of passion play for me and as you said it's actually margieroissconsulting.com. something i find interesting that i hope other people will find interesting is kind of the
nexus of publishing and media and culture. >> host: in one of your posts you talk about cancel culture. you talk about that relatively frequently but i want to read a quote to you and have you walk us through this. quote, no matter how much you try to duck for cover, sooner or later the woke police will find you no matter how far you run, you cannot hide. >> sad but true and i felt compelled to say that because there's been a lot of people who think if i simply keep my head down or simply kind of say the right thing and just be what i would consider to be a nice kind of person, i can get along, i
won't be canceled but i also want to be vilified, marginalized, attacked and i don't think that's true. i think unfortunately, the culture has gotten to a place that it's not enough to just keep your opinions to yourself. increasingly there is a demand at least for people who are published figures and do other people listen to whether they are influencers or authors there is a demand and pressure to endorse a particular narrative, not just be quiet if you don't agree and that is a dangerous place for us to be and it is a
challenge to publishers and other people in the media to have the courage of their convictions and realize they might as well say what they think because they are going to be punished for not agreeing with things that they find were reprehensible. >> host: why do you think mike pence were senator josh holly would go to simon and schuster and go through several rather than being published by regnery? >> guest: of course i don't know in either case specifically, but there are two kind of obvious reasons that come to mind. one is hope that they can navigate their way through a very liberal and will culture at
the big publishing houses they can navigate their way through and still be able to get their message out and the other answer is money. unfortunately, they are some of the biggest celebrity authors that new york publishers will still pay a very big advance. that isn't to say that they haven't paid big advances. they have, but in some cases they will overpay because they like the idea of the celebrity on their list. although, you know i think that is changing as well and there are as we have seen recently big celebrities, donald trump of being number one, big celebrity authors that new york has said they will not publish.
my belief is that it is incumbent upon all authors to ask is this a partner that i feel has enough integrity to work with and in a lot of cases i think the answer might be no. >> in one of your posts you talked about the mike pence and simon & schuster connection and the fact that he was going to be edited in his writing. >> i think two things about that. i think he may well be rigorously edited but i also think that very public declaration by the folks at simon and schuster that are going to be rigorously edited was very consciously made directed at their most progressive and most
left-leaning stands and employees. to try to placate or reinsure those that didn't like the fact that scheinman and's schuster was publishing edited was a big petition that was circulated at simon and schuster against the idea of protesting the idea that they were publishing the book by the former vice president of the united states. i think a large part of that proclamation was going to be claimed and edited was to say don't worry we will stay within these type guidelines. as an author i find both insulting and worrisome. >> host: we are talking with margie ross, the regnery
president and publisher about the books and our look at the world of the publishing industry. you wrote another piece called the big lie and was about "the new york times" book review. what was that about? >> guest: this wasn't a new story for the insiders on the book publishing world but unfortunately, it is used to most that are consumers of both's on the bestseller list. they've actually claimed that as an editorial product.
for a given week it should pretty straightforwardly be the number one duck. number one best-selling book and sometimes it didn't appear at all on the list and that is one of unfortunately many, many examples, increasing numbers of examples in the media irresponsibly in my opinion. >> host: when it comes to conservative books and awards, how were they treated, pulitzer prizes, national book awards, book of the year et cetera flex. >> guest: they are largely
ignored and marginalized. it's very rare that you will see a conservative book when any sort of award where there is, you know, editorial discretion and judgment as opposed to simply looking at the sales members or the quality of the work. when i say editorial discretion, i mean, when somebody can put together, their own politics and their own worldview and unfortunately i'm not sure there's anyone with a conservative worldview whose participating in any of these book awards. i haven't been able to find one. and so, what you get once again is the impression that is made for readers and consumers that there are not any conservative
books or of lower quality and a sort of insidious bias that lived in the book world and it forces conservatives to have to work a little bit harder to find the books that resonate with them. this is interesting to talk about what it means to have conservative or liberal fiction. a lot of people will say what is that. so in a lot of cases one is the promotion, the relentless promotion of fiction with a very
liberal progressive worldview, that cast of characters and that is what we are seeing in the latest where there isn't a single book in the top ten that features a white male protagonist. they are just gone, they are erased from the landscape. i am a big fan of having strong female characters. that's great but the idea that there are zero strong male characters is unfair to every reader and it certainly sends a message to the young readers that there are no heroes when it
comes to white men. >> and to quote one more time, virtue signaling is fracturing our society. it's ironic to me the folks who claim to want inclusiveness and to heal the racial divide and in creating the partisan divide are the first in line to identify people by race. i to separate rather than finding the things that bring us together. that is one of the things a great book can do. it can bring people together with human values and human
heroism and courage and emotion that everyone shares rather than trying to, you know, vulcanizing of marginalized. >> host: joining us on about books is longtime president and publisher of regnery books and now in business for herself at marirossconsulting.com. thanks for your time. >> thanks so much. >> host: this is the about books program and podcast on booktv and c-span. we looked at some of the publishing news and nonfiction books. well, each year, there is a slew of books by former and current members of congress and this year's no exception. in two roads diverged, former republican congressman and governor of south carolina mark sanford weighs in on the future of his party.
former democratic senator ben nelson of nebraska focuses on the lack of bipartisanship at the senate and offers his thoughts on how to restore it. his book is called death of the senate and the former republican congressman of georgia offers a first-hand account of president trump's 2019 impeachment hearing. the republican congressman jim jordan of ohio reflects on president trump's ten years in do what you said you would do. democratic congresswoman charisse davis also has a new book out the kansas congresswoman reflects on her life and path to washington. it's a children's book. and finally democratic congressman adam schiff recounts his experiences as the leader of the first impeachment trial of president trump.
he recently spoke about his book on the author interview program "after words." >> he wouldn't disagree with him and he would have an outside party running the house of representatives and an ethical one to boot. the story as you know that i telling the book i told because it is uncharacteristic. this was in 2010. the midterms were about six months away and we were having an idle conversation about who was going to win the midterms. he said the republicans will win and it started and i was relieved to escape to the movie. we landed and went our separate ways. that night unbeknownst to me in which he told the press everybody knew they were going
to win the midterms and atoms admitted republicans were going to win the midterms. so i didn't learn about this until in the morning when the newspaper came out and i was astounded. first of all we were having a private conversation. but if it wasn't, you know i said the opposite. he looks at me as says i know but you know how it goes. you cannot have someone with such little regard serving as the speaker of the house and indeed this is the most destructive the last several years. mccarthy was ahead of his time with his devotion to the truth but over the last four years there's been this relentless
assault by trump and his acolytes on the truth itself probably best expressed by giuliani but the truth wasn't truth and killian conway who said there were ultimate facts. if we can't agree on very basic facts, if we don't have the shame shared experience, it doesn't work. >> speaking of congress, booktv recently had the opportunity to sit down with the senate minority leader mitch mcconnell to get a look at his reading list. >> not surprisingly, i tend to tilt towards american history much of it political. but one book i finished was not about politics. it was about the history of the polio epidemic from beginning to end. it came out in 2006. actually it won a pulitzer prize and as a victim myself, i have
always had a kind of special interest. there were some lessons with regards to vaccines and a lot of the things we have been preaching lately is get vaccinated and one of the big differences between the situation we find ourselves in now is that it took 70 years to come up with effective vaccines for polio. our marvelous country and pharmaceutical industry came up with the effective vaccines in less than one year to get this opportunity to get past the pandemic. >> you can watch the entire interview about his current reading list on the website, booktv.org. here's a look at some of the books being published this week. hillary clinton's advisor recalls her life and career and
the former trade advisor peter navarro looks at the start of that corona pandemic and the 2020 presidential election. his book is called in trump time. and an entertaining race georgetown university michael eric dyson examines the role of race in america. and also being published this week, the new book by the former republican speaker of the house, newt gingrich argues anti-american beliefs are gaining traction within the united states. his latest book is called "beyond biden." and in the broken constitution, harvard professor describes how abraham lincoln viewed the constitution and fox news brian kelly looks at the relationship between lincoln and frederick douglass and the president and the freedom fighter. those are some of the new books being published this week. you will see them on booktv.
each week booktv produces a program called "after words." and on this week's episode of the author interview program, entrepreneur argues that corporate america is signing onto, quote, the culture only to increase profit. he discussed his book with harvard university economics professor and former george w. bush economics advisor greg. here is a little bit of that conversation. >> i think that there is something to be said for exploring the way in which may be it can stand on its own 2 feet. a big part of what i take aim at in the book isn't just the ideology in and of its own right but it's merged with capitalism which actually taints both the progressive values that the corporations are asked to be stewards of and relegating the purpose in and of itself so that is what the heart of the book is about more so than a criticizing one end of the political
spectrum or another. >> host: now "after words" errors every sunday on booktv and you can watch all previous episodes on the website, booktv.org. and it is also available as a podcast on c-span's new app, c-span now. finally, here's some of the best-selling nonfiction books according to "the new york times." topping the list is a book we will not be covering on booktv, and it's memoir the storyteller. after that, to rescue the republic on president ulysses s grant. to the report on the transition between the trump and biden administration and wrapping up our look at some of "the new york times" best-selling
nonfiction books is midnight in washington, that's california democratic congressman adam schiff's argument that the trump presidency has weakened america's institution. and that is a look at this week's publishing news and the latest nonfiction books. thanks for joining us on about books. and a reminder that about books is available as a podcast on c-span's app, c-span