Accuracy in Media

HiIlary Rodham Clinton

Sales of Hillary Clinton’s new book, Hard Choices, fell by 43.5 percent to 48,000 copies in its second week of availability, according to Nielsen Bookscan.

Bookscan, which tracks sales at over 80 percent of book vendors in the U.S., had reported first week sales of 85,000. Add in e-book sales of 15,000 and Clinton sold 100,000 copies total.

These figures don’t bode well for the publisher, Simon and Schuster, despite the fact that the book will be No. 1 this Sunday on The New York Times list of hardcover nonfiction best sellers. Typically, books generate about 30 percent of their total sales in the first week due to the book tours and publicity a major title receives.

Using that formula, Hard Choices might hit the 300,000 mark, which is far short of the one million copies that Simon and Schuster shipped to bookstores in anticipation of a flood of sales for the former Secretary of State’s latest tome.

So while the book is selling enough to top The New York Times list, it looks like a financial disaster for the publisher—which gave Clinton a whopping $14 million advance—though they are putting on a happy face about the poor sales.

Gary Goldsetin, a Simon and Schuster spokesman, told The New York Times that the book “will be selling for years,” and that they expect it to be a successful book for the company and its international partners, adding that “reader reaction has been terrific.”

Selling for years isn’t exactly a formula for financial success in the book industry, where the shelf life is very short.

Why are sales so poor? A couple of reasons. First, the book doesn’t break new ground and is mainly attracting true Clinton acolytes. Secondly, Clinton has stumbled badly on her book and media tour. Her comments about her wealth have become jokes, even from her friends in the liberal media, resulting in accusations that she is out of touch and not ready to run for president—something she is widely expected to do.

My suggestion is that if you want to pick up a copy, just for the heck of it, wait a little while. With so many unsold copies, it won’t be long before the book will hit the bargain bin.

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