My post of last Thursday explaining why I thought Hillary Clinton’s book would be a money loser may turn out wrong: Yahoo! News reports brisk sales of Hillary Clinton’s memoirs:

Clinton signed over a thousand copies of the book, “Living History,” at a promotional event at a Barnes & Noble store in midtown Manhattan Monday, the first day the book was on sale.

The company said the former first lady’s White House memoirs sold more than 40,000 copies in the first 24 hours it was available, instantly making it an in-house best seller.

Publisher Simon & Schuster estimated first-day retail sales nationwide at 200,000.

Simon & Schuster paid $8 million for the book, ordering a 1 million copies for the first print run.

Spokeswoman Victoria Meyer said Tuesday that they will produce another 300,000 books on top of that figure in response to demand.

Frankly, I’m baffled that that many people would pay to read this book especially since, like bad movies, the “good parts” are already out in the previews. I remain a bit skeptical of these figures and am wondering if these are actual purchases by end users or simply orders by bookstores and wholesalers. The latter are returnable for full credit.

(Hat tip: The American Mind)

Update (1558): Heh. Little Tiny Lies has a take on the book, via PhotoShop. (Hat tip: Bryan)

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bryan says:

    But this is only the first day. I can’t see how she’s going to keep that number up, especially at hardcover prices.

    On the other hand, every tin-foil-hat-wearing lefty is going to buy a copy just like they did Michael Moore’s book, because it’ll tick off Rush Limbaugh.

    We live in very weird times.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Oh, I agree that she won’t keep that number up. But, honestly, if those are actual retail sails to end users, 200,000 is amazingly high. Most of these biographies sell practically nothing.

  3. Rodney Dill says:

    I won’t need to buy or read Hillary’s book. Some one like Ann Coulter will tell me everything that I want to know about it.

  4. jen says:

    I predict that her sales will be similar to movie opening weekends. She’ll sell like gangbusters this first week, then things will die off as word of mouth gets out that it’s no good.

    As well, Anne Coulter has a new book coming out in a week or two. She’ll quickly overtake Hill on the book lists.

  5. reason says:

    The book is selling for $17 bucks at the local grocery.
    $17 bucks? That doesn’t even buy you a beer at
    an Angel game. It seems to me that they’re giving
    the book away to claim that it’s a hit.

  6. reason says:

    And another thing. I’ll bet you 197,134 copies of Living History are stashed in the same warehouse as the Whitewater documents.

  7. James Joyner says:

    They’re selling beer for more than $17 at Angels games?!!

    Further, the publisher likely doesn’t have much to do with the retail price in grocery stores. The book has a $28 cover price and is likely wholesaling for $14 or more. If the stores sell them for a $3 margin, that’s their business.

  8. Nick says:

    I read somewhere that Rush sold over 8 million (not sure if it was total or of both) of his books. He holds the recent record for non-fiction sales. Seems like Hillary has zero chance of beating that.