The written word only matters insofar as it is made available and accessible—and in this case, insofar as it can be taxed. With the Trump administration dealing with the aftermath of a trade war with China, many consumers and publication producers are licking their wounds. In an unprecedented tariff implementation, almost every form of publication is being exposed to a 10 percent tax increase that started September 1, 2019. A second wave of taxes will come in December 2019.
Regardless of whether Wolff’s book is libel or an accurate portrait of Trump’s White House (my guess is we won’t know for a while), by expediting the pub-date and moving forward with Fire and Fury, Henry Holt was able to do something that’s becoming harder and harder these days—something that the American Association of Publishers holds in high regard: exercising and protecting our First Amendment rights, the backbone of US democracy. And so what if the driving reason behind publishing was to capitalize on a money-making trend? Henry Holt isn’t alone.