Former president Barack Obama on Thursday shared his list of the books he’s reading this summer.
“It’s like a gold seal on the book,” said Kristen McLean, the primary industry analyst at Circana, which runs the data service BookScan.
The cohort of books that Obama chose last summer enjoyed a 5 percent sales bump overall, according to McLean’s analysis of BookScan data. Some — such as Charmaine Wilkerson’s “Black Cake” and Jennifer Egan’s “The Candy House” — were already bestsellers and didn’t have much, or any, uptick in sales. But sales of Antoine Wilson’s thriller “Mouth to Mouth” rose by 171 percent, and paperback sales of John Le Carré’s posthumous novel “Silverview” more than doubled.
The list also boosts literary careers in subtler ways. After it comes out, booksellers may promote an author’s previous books more heavily, McLean said. Sales of Hanya Yanagihara’s “To Paradise” actually dipped in the weeks immediately following the list’s release, she noted — but sales of her 2015 novel, “A Little Life,” spiked.
And it may spur publishers to order more printings or a paperback edition of a book. “It means they’re going to need to keep that book in print,” McLean said. “That book is going to reach a new level of future security.”
“I think that his lists have perhaps gotten even more popular in the past six, seven years,” said Michael Taeckens, a book publicist who has had several clients land on the list. “There’s a real nostalgia factor.”