Rove’s Book Sold for Half of What He Expected – And Buyer Was Mary Matalin

Karl Rove put his book project up for auction among the big publishing houses in New York in mid-November. According to Crain’s New York Business on Dec. 17, a month passed with no offers:

It would be comforting to think the marquee imprints refused to do business with Rove because he betrayed a secret government operation tracking the black market for terror weapons.

The auction for Karl Rove’s memoir drags on a month after the Republican strategist made the rounds of publishers with Washington power lawyer Robert Barnett at his side.

“It’s very, very slow,” says an executive at one of the few houses left in the bidding. Early reports had predicted a $3 million sale, but some insiders are wondering if Mr. Barnett has had trouble getting to that number. He declined to comment.

On Friday, a deal was finally announced, but there’s an interesting twist — the buyer is Rove’s former White House colleague, conservative strategist Mary Matalin:

GOP strategist Karl Rove has agreed to write about his years as an adviser to President Bush in a deal worth over $1.5 million with former colleague Mary Matalin’s conservative imprint at Simon & Schuster, officials said Friday.

Rove … signed the deal with Threshold Editions, the imprint’s publisher and executive vice president Louise Burke said.

“All of us at Threshold are thrilled to publish the book from the man who had the president’s ear for two terms,” Burke said.

Rove’s agent, attorney Robert Barnett, said Threshold was chosen over eight other bidding publishers. Threshold didn’t say how much Rove would be paid, but the bidding reached at least $1.5 million, two publishing officials familiar with the bidding told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, a standard industry practice.

On Nov. 21, not long after the auction had begun, Rove went on Charlie Rose’s show to promote the book, and made this outrageous claim:

ROVE: One of the untold stories about the war is why did the United States Congress, the United States Senate vote on the war resolution in the fall of 2002?


ROVE: This administration was opposed to it. I‘m going to talk about that in my book … The administration was opposed to voting on it in the fall of 2002 … [because] we didn‘t think it belonged within the confines of the election. There was an election coming up in a matter of weeks. We thought it made it too political. We wanted it outside the confines of it. It seemed to make things move too fast. There were things that needed to be done to bring along allies and potential allies abroad.

It would be comforting to think that this ham-fisted, too easily refuted lie depressed the auction price of the book — or even better that book publishers refused to do business with a traitor who betrayed a secret CIA operation in 2003 that monitored the terror weapons black market.

It’s more likely the marquee publishing houses passed because sales projections looked weak — which gives reason for hope, too.


  • oldgringo
    December 23, 2007 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    So the BUSH FASCISTI are now buying each others dirty linen, are they?
    Now, they should sign ALL the””Faux Nuz” staff and Anny-Grab-Ur-Krotch-Coulter and they will be well on their way to as yet unplumbed literary depths, especially if they can get Billy Kristol, Stevie Forbes and Mit-Lit-Major-Romney on the editorial staff!

  • Di
    December 23, 2007 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    Now, this would actually be funny,if it wasn’t so pathetic. It’s bizarre how none of the “real” publishing houses want to touch this with a 100-foot pole. Maybe they think they’ll be somehow complicit in the lies and high crimes and felonies if they publish it. Matalan is such a stupid dope that she’s probably thinking she’s doing the world a favor. Blechhhhh, may they all rot in hell.

  • Alibe
    December 23, 2007 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    In other words, Matalin had to buy it so KKKarl could save face. Too bad a Dem didn’t buy rights and spend years making him rewrite it, (waterboard him) and and then not publish it. It would have been worth it to tie him up over the election cycle. Where are those with a few bucks and a bit of an imagination?

  • N. R. Murray
    December 23, 2007 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    Well, I had enough toilet paper in stock anyway.

  • December 23, 2007 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    Take heart! Find the silver lining!
    Maybe Mary Matalin is a shrew(d) businesswoman who expects book sales to soar when Rove hits death row.
    Wouldn’t that be special?
    Meanwhile–Happy freakin’ holidays, everyone!!!

  • Paula
    December 23, 2007 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    One has to question how anyone would want to peddle the stuff this man will be trying to sell. I think we can safely say that he is not going to write from a “reality-based” viewpoint.
    Take a look at this article:

  • John
    December 23, 2007 - 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Looks like Rove found someone to polish this festering turd. Also, I thought republicans burned books instead of reading them???

  • Carl from L.A.
    December 23, 2007 - 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Say, under some sort of community property rules, doesn’t that mean that half of the advance came out of the wallet of that staunch Liberal, James Carville?

  • Fed Up Already
    December 24, 2007 - 2:11 am | Permalink

    Re: Rove’s book.

    Q: Why would anyone pay to read the lies they’ve been hearing for free–from the compliant media–for years?

    A: Beats me.

  • Viking
    December 24, 2007 - 3:00 pm | Permalink

    This book will tank just like Mary Cheney’s book did, and it will be on sale at greatly reduced prices within months. I’m an author and know publishing well. The P&L assessment Simon & Schuster did couldn’t possibly have shown they’d earn their money back, so the book was bought as a favor. We need some intrepid reporter to find out what Simon & Schuster or its parent company wants from the government–there’s no other reason to have bought the book.

  • December 24, 2007 - 3:12 pm | Permalink

    S&S is owned by Viacom, which was recently renamed CBS Corporation. The principal individual in control of the conglomerate is Sumner Redstone. Another big property owned by the corporation is Paramount Pictures.

    I am a publishing industry veteran, too, and agree that S&S and the others ran the numbers and saw that it looked grim.

    It’s possible Matalin’s imprint could do what other rightwing publishers do and “sell” the books in bulk to conservative groups for pennies on the dollar and thus push it up the bestseller list. This has routinely been done for books by Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham. But if you follow the link above to the Crain’s Business article, you’ll see that Coulter’s sales are tanking these days.

  • TMKent
    December 24, 2007 - 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Re: Crains. Re: the title of Ann Coulter’s “If Democrats had brains, they’d be Republicans.”
    If REPUBLICANS had brains, they’d be HUMAN!

  • Gary Drake
    November 1, 2010 - 11:42 pm | Permalink

    that Democratic National Committee has put up a slightly more practical polling locator they call Raise Your Vote. this web site still needs your handle and zip code, but then displays your assigned polling station plus the best route to get there from your home.

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