The Christian Science Monitor considers the role of book publishing in presidential campaigns. I found this interesting:
As part of the introductory phase of the campaign – where candidates strive to present an image of themselves that they hope will endure – strategists agree a book can be an invaluable tool. For reporters, it offers a handy reference guide; for the public, it’s something to get signed at rallies; and for the candidate, it’s a free form of advertising – a chance to go on talk shows and see your face displayed in bookstores across America.
This quote is interesting, among other things, for what it says about how this reporter sees herself and how she sees the voters. Reporters will actually use these books. For regular folks it’s just expensive autograph paper. Hmmm…
I believe such books can be important artifacts in understanding what makes a politician tick–even the ghost-written books. I think we can glean much insight from considering the myths that politicians tap into when they tell stories about themselves. For more about the role of myth in political books, see my essay on presidential autobiography (.pdf file).