History reveals that elections affect more than just TV ad sales and bumper sticker displays. Election years are notable for downturns in the market in general with mergers and acquisitions put on hold, corporate investments trimmed, and CEOs consciously or unconsciously holding their breath until the votes are tallied. According to an article in The New York Times, “If history is any guide, from now till Nov. 8, the stock market is likely to trend down, putting a psychological damper on deal-making and initial public offerings.”
How do book sales compare to the rest of the market?
In years past, elections have spurred sales of political books: candidate memoirs, political treatises, and current political events viewed through the lens of history. Some even assert that you can track a candidate’s rise in popularity through book sales associated with that candidate. In fact, the experts at Nielson launched a site this year that tracks presidential candidate book sales overall and by city.
Traditionally, candidate memoirs have had great success in the months leading up to an election. The popularity of political and historical-political genres bubbles up throughout the election cycle. It’s obvious that the political landscape will receive a boost of interest from the public during an election season. Perhaps Americans want to learn more about those who might hold the powerful office or simply learn more about a candidate’s political and overall beliefs.
According to a Forbes article, “What is clear is that there appears to be a correlation between who Americans find interesting enough to cast a vote for and who they are interested in reading about.”
The reality is that uncertainty seems to envelop the market in the ramp up to the final vote. Publishers can take heart that political book sales buck this trend, perhaps as readers try to overcome the unknown by learning more about who, why, and what’s happened before in our political system.