Tuesday, January 24, 2006
I can't imagine a better way to lift a book from total obscurity (yesterday's Amazon sales rank: 151,889, which is pretty lame for a book published less than three months ago, notwithstanding a solid "5 stars" on the customer reviews) to instant prominence. I know that I wasn't even slightly interested in TrumpNation until I learned that it has apparently inflicted $5 billion worth of damage on Donald Trump. Now I'm actually interested in finding out what set him off.
Trump is a public figure, by the way, who has repeatedly sought the benefits of exposure in the press. That is going to make this a tough case for Trump to win. The governing standard is New York Times v. Sullivan. To win, he will have to show not only that they statements were false and damaging, but that the publisher and the author made them with "actual malice." That's state-of-mind mumbo jumbo that means that "the statement was made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was true or false."
The Donald is going to lose, but he's going to sell a lot of the defendants' book in the process.
Knowing Trump, he is probably NOT getting a piece of the action which is why he sued.
I expect the publisher will make a settlement shortly after the publicity from the suit elevates the sales levels of the book sufficiently for there to be something to settle with. The Daily News and the Sun are probably already assisting here, how's that for a new take on a coordinated multi media strategy? I'm sure Trump and his lawyers did a cost benefit analysis before filing the suit.
The art of the deal indeed.
PS. I expect that if this was Trump's father he would just have some of his friends from Queens and Brooklyn make a visit to the author and make him a settlement offer that could not be refused (ie. we won't rearrange your the order of your tibia and fibula if you agree not to publish).
After all, how could Fred build the foundation for the present Trump empire in the construction trade in these boros in the 1950's without having a few friends in the outfit? Construction in NYC is and has been heavily unionized, and how do you avoid labor problems on your construction sites? And then all of a sudden we are one of the first and biggest to invest in Atlantic City casinos as well. Coincidence? I think not.
Interesting to see how the generations change, now we have the lawyers rough em up before the shake down and it's all legal.
There's a reason why this guy got where he is at, and I'm guessing Balzac was again correct in his fundamental suppositon about great fortunes.