Whatever anyone can say about him, it’s hard to deny that Donald Trump is a canny salesman. The kind of person who knows precisely what to say—and sometimes, whom to agitate—to move a product. But in this case, he seems to have done so unwittingly.
As the Washington Post reported on Sunday morning, Trump’s public attacks on Georgia representative John Lewis seem to have launched the congressman’s book sales into the stratosphere. The 76-year-old civil rights hero told NBC News’ Chuck Todd this week that he doesn’t believe Trump is a “legitimate” president, citing Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. Trump lashed back on Twitter, calling Lewis “no action,” and advising him to focus on America’s “burning and crime infested inner-cities.”
Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to……— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2017
mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2017
Congressman John Lewis should finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities of the U.S. I can use all the help I can get!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 15, 2017
Trump’s reaction has sparked immense controversy, both for the fact that Lewis’ congressional district (he represents the city of Atlanta) is not “falling apart,” and for the racial implications of demanding a black civil rights icon silence his criticisms and focus on inner-city blight instead.
It’s also apparently sparked new interest in Lewis’ books, which are flying off the shelves. As of this writing, his book Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement is listed as “temporarily out of stock” on Amazon, as is his 2012 book Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change, and March, an award-winning, three-part graphic novel depicting his time in the civil rights movement. Fortunately for anyone who still wants to order it, the individual entries in the March series are still available, although buying them separately costs slightly more than getting the full set.
That’s not to say that March necessarily needed the added interest or attention, however. It’s been a critically acclaimed success since the release of its first volume back in 2013, telling the story of Lewis’ participation in the march on Selma, Alabama, where he and his fellow demonstrators were violently beaten by the police as they attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965. Lewis was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at the time, and he endured many similar incidents for the cause of civil rights. The third volume of March took home the National Book Award for 2016, a major moment both for graphic novels as a medium and for Lewis himself.