Wednesday, November 19, 2008

For Books, Is Obama New Oprah?
By Motoko Rich
Published in the New York Times: November 17, 2008

When President-elect Barack Obama appeared on “60 Minutes” on CBS on Sunday in his first interview since winning the election, he mentioned having read “a new book out about F .D. R.’s first 100 days” without specifically naming a title or author.

That tantalizing reference set off a scramble for the claim to First Reader rights all day Monday before a spokesman for Mr. Obama disclosed what the president-elect had actually read.

The publishers and authors of at least three such books that could fit Mr. Obama’s description each spent much of Monday wondering whether they had just gotten a plug from the soon-to-be leader of the free world.

Anthony J. Badger, a professor at Cambridge University in England, assumed it was his book “F D R: The First Hundred Days” when he started receiving e-mail messages from CNN producers on Monday morning, asking for interviews. Meanwhile, executives at Penguin Press, publisher of a forthcoming book, “Nothing to Fear: F D R’s Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America,” by Adam Cohen (a member of the editorial board of The New York Times), were convinced it was their title.

And then there was Jonathan Alter, a Newsweek reporter and author of “The Defining Moment: F D R’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope,” published in 2006. On Sunday night, he said, “I got a bunch of e-mails on my BlackBerry from excited friends saying Obama just mentioned your book, exclamation point.”
Read the full story at the NYT online.

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