Book sales figures tumble for Hard Choices

posted at 12:41 pm on June 26, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Let’s stipulate up front that most authors with contracts at major publishers would love to see their book sales fall to 48,000 in the second week, but Hillary Clinton is not most authors. She has global name recognition and was assumed to have a story to tell in Hard Choices, and got nearly $14 million from Simon & Schuster for publication rights. After the relatively inauspicious debut or what turned out to be a dull campaign tome on the charts of 85,721 in first-week hard-copy sales, the book fell to 48,227 in its second week, signifying a sharp decline in interest:

Hillary Clinton’s new memoir “Hard Choice” experienced a 43% drop in sales in its second week on bookshelves, according to numbers from Nielsen BookScan.

After 85,721 copies of “Hard Choices” were purchased in the book’s first week, 48,227 copies of the memoir sold in the second week, according to Nielsen numbers, which make up roughly 85% of all retail book sales and were provided to CNN by a publishing source. …

Jason Pinter, founder and publisher of Polis Books, said the decline is “not at all” surprising.

“Publicity-driven books like this are always front-loaded,” Pinter said. “Which is why the first week numbers were likely a cause for concern-they were only going to go down from there.” …

But Pinter said no matter how much Clinton sells the book, the “reviews were tepid enough to squelch interest from everyone but hardcore Hillary devotees.”

That’s the problem that the book sales expose. There aren’t really a lot of “hardcore Hillary devotees,” or even enough political junkies who ordered the book as reference material for the next two years. The first memoirs from Bill and Hillary Clinton sold like hotcakes because they were the first, and the public was still eaten up by curiosity over the Clintons and their era in the White House. By now, few retain either the curiosity or the enthusiasm for either Clinton in sufficient quantity to slap down $30 (or less, since Hard Choices is already being heavily discounted) to read an anodyne account of Hillary’s exploits since Living History.

Simon & Schuster are putting a brave public face, but the New York Times isn’t buying it. Internally, it’s a different story:

First-week sales typically account for about 30 percent of the total, thanks to the publicity blitzes that accompany publishers’ biggest releases. That means “Hard Choices” could fall far short of the one million copies that Simon & Schuster shipped to bookstores, industry executives said. (Publishers sell books on consignment and must take back copies that do not sell in the stores.)

The second-week figures also increase the likelihood that Simon & Schuster will not sell enough books to make up for Mrs. Clinton’s advance, said a publishing executive who did not want to speak on the record about a competitor’s book. …

Sales of the book have been strong compared with similar nonfiction titles — diet and self-help books notwithstanding. It will be No. 1 on The New York Times’s list of hardcover nonfiction best sellers on Sunday. On Wednesday, “Hard Choices” was No. 21 among Amazon’s best-sellers. (“Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas” by Edward Klein is No. 3.)

Mrs. Clinton’s book has sold better than memoirs by other former members of the Obama administration, including recent releases by former Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner (“Stress Test”) and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates (“Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War”).

Talk about damning with faint praise. She’s outselling former Cabinet colleagues who don’t have anywhere near her name recognition, and her book is outselling other nonfiction, but not “diet and self-help books.” Yikes.

What does that say about Hillary’s chances in 2016? Nothing good, and that would be true even if she hadn’t spent two weeks repeatedly shooting herself in the foot while promoting the book, especially over a topic on which she should have prepared — her wealth. It’s as if she didn’t anticipate that Democrats would make income inequality an issue in this year’s midterm elections, despite the fact that they’ve been talking about it since September 2011 and spent all last summer hammering Mitt Romney over it.

On the other hand, I have to disagree in part with my friend Jon Ralston in his “epic rant” over Hillary Clinton’s speaking fees at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Ralston called the fee “obscene”, “grotesque” and “revolting”, adding: “Hillary Clinton, who advocates for affordable education, should be ashamed.” And then, for good measure, Ralston asked incredulously: “Is anyone worth that much money?”

Um, wow. …

Now, one rant — even by someone with a following in a swing state and nationally like Ralston — isn’t all that big a deal for Clinton. Particularly since it’s happening in June 2014 not June 2016. But, Ralston’s reaction coupled with the ongoing problems Clinton has displayed in talking about her family’s wealth should be warning signs for the campaign in waiting.

If Hillary and her allies really want to cast her as either a) an average person or b) the voice of average people, they might want to cut back on taking six figure speech fees sometime relatively soon.

I agree with almost everything Jon says except where he says that Hillary should “be ashamed” to take the fee. I don’t begrudge Hillary Clinton or anyone else earning a living on the speaking circuit. UNLV and the foundation can and should be criticized for paying it, but that’s Hillary’s vocation these days. Chis Cillizza’s correct in warning about the optics of taking that payday, but it’s not an ethical problem to accept a fee for a market-based service at the going rate, which in this case is exactly what Hillary did. Besides, after the last two-plus weeks, the optics here pale in comparison to the “dead broke” and “not truly well off” claims.

Update: Joe Klein calls the wealth fumble a “disaster”:

So’s the book, relative to its advance and its political purpose.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

It’s coming sooner or later. Let’s get it over with.

VegasRick on June 26, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Better we fight it, than our children.

captnjoe on June 26, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Breaking: A majority of Americans find it’s not such a Hard Choice between buying Hillary’s book or putting gas in their cars.

can_con on June 26, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Better we fight it, than our children.

captnjoe on June 26, 2014 at 1:30 PM

1,000% correct.

VegasRick on June 26, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Let’s cut Killary some slack….she had some Hard Choices
to make when she was younger…

like her Sexual Orientation….which she flipped a coin to
decide…Heads, it’s hairP*e, Tails, it’s B*lls across the…

ToddPA on June 26, 2014 at 1:37 PM

I’ve said it many times before, although not in the context of HRC’s books: It is indeed obscene for ANYBODY to get this kind of fawning and remunerative treatment for writing a book. Look at the truly great writers we’ve had, of nonfiction or fiction alike–the ones who, you know, actually had something of value to say. A few got some recognition in their lifetimes (yes, a very few have made good money) but never anything remotely like this, especially in comparison to the content.

It especially galls me because I know plenty of authors whose lives revolve around making real contributions (heck, I’m one myself if you’ll forgive the shameless plug), most of whom never achieve notice. It’s like HRC’s cattle futures deal years ago. Having traded commodities in the past, I know full well how the odds are stacked against a novice walzing in and grabbing $100K right off the bat.

Nobody who claims to favor a level playing field can have any respect for HRC’s career.

fatherspledge on June 26, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Ah, you know of him I see.

VegasRick on June 26, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Just enough on the ‘internets’ to label him correctly almost immediately as a foul Democrat Cheerleader. The kind of guy you’d take a swing at if he was walking down the street.

reddevil on June 26, 2014 at 1:39 PM

like her Sexual Orientation….which she flipped a coin to
decide…Heads, it’s hairP*e, Tails, it’s B*lls across the…

ToddPA on June 26, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Nice ADC reference.

VegasRick on June 26, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Another grueling day for Hillary autographing books for the dwindling ‘crowds’ of hoi polloi comes to an end as her limo speeds away: “God what awful people. Where’s my drink? How dare you not have my bourbon ready! Look…I’m shaking!”

otlset on June 26, 2014 at 1:40 PM

“Their car hurtling off a cliff in rural Arkansas or dead end at Ft. Marcy Park?”

“It is a hard choice, Bill !!!”

viking01 on June 26, 2014 at 1:45 PM

This thread is starting to look like QOTD: Early Edition.

captnjoe on June 26, 2014 at 1:15 PM

All the RINOs are watching soccer. Oh wait…

faraway on June 26, 2014 at 1:48 PM

I agree with almost everything Jon says except where he says that Hillary should “be ashamed” to take the fee.

Agreed. Those who pay such fees should, however, be deeply ashamed.

jbspry on June 26, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Cleanser

Schadenfreude on June 26, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Ed, you need to use this picture in your Hillary articles.

slickwillie2001 on June 26, 2014 at 1:53 PM

A very stupid woman with zero charisma and very repellent character, voice, etc… Let us hope she is the democrat nominee for 2016…

mnjg on June 26, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Huma and Hillary, together, are the big danger to America.

Schadenfreude on June 26, 2014 at 2:02 PM

So she scammed the publisher out of $14 million?

Ward Cleaver on June 26, 2014 at 2:15 PM

So she scammed the publisher out of $14 million?

Ward Cleaver on June 26, 2014 at 2:15 PM

$14 million is nothing to Simon & Schuster if it buys them political influence. All part of the many Clintoon “deals” S&S has made.

IYKWIM….

viking01 on June 26, 2014 at 2:20 PM

What difference does it make? The book will be in the 99c bin of Barnes and Noble very soon.

Krupnikas on June 26, 2014 at 2:21 PM

I think Hillary sent me a spam today.

Your Home Security Quote is Pending For you.

Email Verification: 5639831

Quote Arranged For: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Your Installation installed by Experts at ADT, Vivint, Lifeshield, Frontpoint Or ProtectAmerica

Find It Here: http:XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Even as he was speaking heof what he meant to say; his hand would steal to her beautiful hair, and indigging in the soft bottom close to the creek, and finally he drove theprecipice.Langdon, laughing.1.F.could not be followed because of the intense cold. Moose, caribou, and evenother valley–his home–lay under Muskwa.fabric of idealism had fallen into ruins. For he had found all that washis tree.the thought came to him that he might take what food was left, and acceptobjection.victim at the end of a hangman’s rope. Langdon ran to him, caught himenough meat to last them until spring. We’re stinting ourselves on our ownStill he was afraid to come out. These strange pursuers that had come upThe girl looked at him in silence for a moment.understand; but unto himself the day and the hour had brought its meaningfour hours out of every twelve.His first thought was that he was powerless–utterly powerless. He couldmountain wall. Had there been a trail the story might have been differentthe carcass that lay doubled up three or four feet from him. He smelled ofhis cowhide prison Muskwa whimpered pleadingly. Langdon heard, but hecold with a chill that was more horrible than that of the snow and theThe black met him halfway, and after this–for many minutes–Muskwa huggedAgain Thor advanced, slowly and deliberately–straight for the robber.spruce. What life was left in him leaped joyously, and he began to scrambleremembered what Rameses had told him–that the Cree girl’s first kiss wasCHAPTER SEVENTEENthe copyright status of any work in any country outside the Unitedto one side. Sprawling on his face, Bruce gathered up a shirtful of snowNot once in this hike down the valley had Thor wasted time on the mountainhe would take one caribou, and he would eat that caribou to the marrow inClean-cut and unafraid, he stood up.absorbed in his travel.and shale out of his mouth.For a moment Nannies, Billies, and little kids were paralyzed by hiswork or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.dark eyes and a voice from the First People turned a sociologist into agave Muskwa courage.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 26, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Now if Bill wrote a book of the same name;
Hard Choices WET DREAMS
and it was a tell all book, I bet it would sell more copies

FIFY

txdoc on June 26, 2014 at 2:34 PM

If she really wants to sell books she should drop the fiction and go with non-fiction. We all would like to hear the truth for a change.

fogw on June 26, 2014 at 2:34 PM

First-week sales typically account for about 30 percent of the total, thanks to the publicity blitzes that accompany publishers’ biggest releases. That means “Hard Choices” could fall far short of the one million copies that Simon & Schuster shipped to bookstores, industry executives said. (Publishers sell books on consignment and must take back copies that do not sell in the stores.)

The second-week figures also increase the likelihood that Simon & Schuster will not sell enough books to make up for Mrs. Clinton’s advance, said a publishing executive who did not want to speak on the record about a competitor’s book. …

If the 85,721 books sold in the first week represent 30% of total sales, Simon and Schuster will probably sell about 286,000 copies of Hillary’s book. At $30 per copy, this would bring in $8.58 million, meaning that S&S just lost $5.4 million on Hillary.

Hillary thinks she’s dead broke? Simon and Schuster shares her pain.

Steve Z on June 26, 2014 at 2:42 PM

If the 85,721 books sold in the first week represent 30% of total sales, Simon and Schuster will probably sell about 286,000 copies of Hillary’s book. At $30 per copy, this would bring in $8.58 million, meaning that S&S just lost $5.4 million on Hillary.

Hillary thinks she’s dead broke? Simon and Schuster shares her pain.

Steve Z on June 26, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Not if you simply consider that S&S gave her the money as an effective way around campaign finance restrictions, didn’t intend to make it all back, etc.

Midas on June 26, 2014 at 3:04 PM

When all you write are endless lies in this book, how much real interest can there be except amongst her idol worshipers.

leader4hru on June 26, 2014 at 3:09 PM

The Amazon reviews are really funny, especially the “most helpful” 5 star reviews. Check them out.

http://www.amazon.com/Hard-Choices-Hillary-Rodham-Clinton/product-reviews/1476751447/ref=cm_cr_pr_top_link_1?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addFiveStar&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=byRankDescending

Missy on June 26, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Ralston called the fee “obscene”, “grotesque” and “revolting”, adding: “Hillary Clinton, who advocates for affordable education, should be ashamed.” And then, for good measure, Ralston asked incredulously: “Is anyone worth that much money?”

They are if they might soon be President. The obscene fee was a political Back door political donation.

cajunpatriot on June 26, 2014 at 3:22 PM

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”

- Cyril Connolly

MichaelGabriel on June 26, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Now if Bill wrote a book of the same name;
Hard Choices WET DREAMS
and it was a tell all book, I bet it would sell more copies

FIFY

txdoc on June 26, 2014 at 2:34 PM

He always had a more down-home and charming way of telling whoppers and lies than does Hillary.

hawkeye54 on June 26, 2014 at 3:34 PM

The reason for the drop???? All the pundits already have their copy.

SansJeux on June 26, 2014 at 3:35 PM

No wonder Clinton kept going on and on about being broke–she bought up all the copies of this book waste of paper she could afford.

zoyclem on June 26, 2014 at 4:06 PM

I agree with almost everything Jon says except where he says that Hillary should “be ashamed” to take the fee.
Agreed. Those who pay such fees should, however, be deeply ashamed.

jbspry on June 26, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Those librul college administrators are not ashamed to use other people’s money to support hilarity.

Old Country Boy on June 26, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Just as I can find nothing about Obama admirable, I can find noting about HRC appealing. The only way the book could have been less appealing, had she included naked pictures.

StevC on June 26, 2014 at 4:32 PM

“Hillary’s “Excruciatingly Boring” Hard Choices SLAMMED By Readers With 2.1 Rating”
…this clearly shows how really DEAD BROKE Shovel-Ready Shrillary is…she couldn’t even afford a competent ghost writer!!!!!!

MicahStone on June 26, 2014 at 4:53 PM

“Monica Lewinsky’s Ex-Boyfriend’s Wife FOR PRESIDENT!”

mojo on June 26, 2014 at 4:53 PM

The Amazon reviews are really funny, especially the “most helpful” 5 star reviews. Check them out.

http://www.amazon.com/Hard-Choices-Hillary-Rodham-Clinton/product-reviews/1476751447/ref=cm_cr_pr_top_link_1?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addFiveStar&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=byRankDescending

Missy on June 26, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Haha no kidding:


the lady that gave me the shirt with the acorn on it said she would give me a pack of smokes and some thunderbird, June 23, 2014

By jimbo the wino – See all my reviews

Chuck Schick on June 26, 2014 at 4:57 PM

By jimbo the wino – See all my reviews

Chuck Schick on June 26, 2014 at 4:57 PM

That one’s hilarious. I wonder if that’s HA’s Jimbo, the bigtime corporate lawyer?

slickwillie2001 on June 26, 2014 at 6:21 PM

Poor sales wouldn’t be such an issue, if the poor dear wasn’t ‘dead broke’, to boot.

Here’s a dollar, Hil. Now, squeegee my windshield and make me a sandwich.

orangemtl on June 26, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Here’s a dollar, Hil. Now, squeegee my windshield and make me a sandwich.

orangemtl on June 26, 2014 at 7:26 PM

What, you don’t want her to get in your car, drive somewhere special and talk?

arnold ziffel on June 26, 2014 at 9:56 PM

Book sales figures tumble for Hard Choices

Apparently there was no demand for the book as soon as it became known that the title was deceptive and the book was actually about Hillary and not Bill.

:)

landlines on June 27, 2014 at 12:21 AM

“Is anyone worth that much money?”

Well, that all depends. If you think of it as paying a quarter mil to her speak, no. No one is worth that.

However, if you think of it as an advance on future political and regulatory favors, it’s a great deal. Or alternately, as paying protection money….

damage done on June 27, 2014 at 4:42 AM

There is only one explanation and that is liberals can’t read which explains a lot.

lea on June 27, 2014 at 10:36 AM

I well remember when Palin’s book was flying off the store shelves and one local branch library had one copy of her book and a half dozen of Splash Kennedy’s. The hold list for the city system was several hundred for Palin’s book waiting for just twelve copies (all checked out) and the hold list for Splash Kennedy’s was zero with a few dozen copies with maybe one copy checked out.

viking01 on June 26, 2014 at 1:25 PM

You are comparing Palin’s first and best selling book to Clinton’s last book.

If you compare Palin’s first book to Palin’s first book, both are strong and Hillary’s probably wins.

Sales of Palin’s second book dropped 70 percent.

And if you want to make the point that Hillary’s latest book is a flop, because it only sold 100,000 in the first week, you should know that six months ago Drudge reported that Palin’s newest book sold only 20,157 in the first week. In other words, Hillary’s most recent book sold 500 percent more than Palin’s most recent book.

RUexperienced on June 27, 2014 at 2:00 PM

If you compare Palin’s first book to Palin’s first book

… Palin’s first to Hillary’s first….

RUexperienced on June 27, 2014 at 2:18 PM

I agree with almost everything Jon says except where he says that Hillary should “be ashamed” to take the fee. I don’t begrudge Hillary Clinton….”

You don’t??

That’s a dumb thing to write, Ed.

Sherman1864 on June 28, 2014 at 6:11 AM

If she really wants to sell books she should drop the fiction and go with non-fiction. We all would like to hear the truth for a change.
fogw on June 26, 2014 at 2:34 PM

This is true, sir or madam.

Sherman1864 on June 28, 2014 at 6:14 AM

Heavy bummage ! (I wouldn’t allow that book … or any of her books … into my house if Hill or Bill paid me!)

wutzupdak on June 28, 2014 at 3:44 PM

________________________________________

WHAT DIFFERENCE does IT MAKE
IF the CLINTON RECORDS are OPENED
to the PUBLIC REVIEW ?

________________________________________

HILLARY TAPES REVEAL she Defended
CHILD RAPIST she knew was GUILTY
……………………………………………………………………..
http://freebeacon.com/politics/audio-hillary-clinton-speaks-of-defense-of-child-rapist-in-newly-unearthed-tapes/
……………………………………………………………………..
‘Hillary Clinton Took Me Through Hell,’ Rape Victim Says

The scandal over Hillary Clinton’s defense of
an alleged child rapist

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/20/exclusive-hillary-clinton-took-me-through-hell-rape-victim-says.html

________________________________________

BILL CLINTON’s WAR against WOMAN
…………………………………………………………………
Bill Clinton’s long history of sexual violence
against women:

Women have been charging Bill Clinton
with sexual assault since his days as
a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford 30 years ago.
…………………………………………………………………
http://albertpeia.com/oxfordassault.htm
……………………………………………………………………..

Sexual misconduct allegations against Bill Clinton

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_misconduct_allegations_against_Bill_Clinton

Todd Akin was never Accused of Rape
— Unlike Bill Clinton

http://townhall.com/columnists/larryelder/2012/08/23/todd_akin_was_never_accused_of_rape__unlike_bill_clinton


________________________________________

Global HAWK on June 29, 2014 at 12:56 PM

People need to stop whining about speakers fees: often these are what makes audiences sign up for the conference, dinner or what-have-you. We all know Hillary’s talks are not worth $200K by themselves.

In view of Hillary’s rags to riches life-story, maybe she should have called it “Hard Times”.

virgo on June 29, 2014 at 11:53 PM

Comment pages: 1 2