Hillary Clinton has finally almost passed Bob Gates in book sales


Clinton signing books in July. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Remember Hillary Clinton's book? For weeks, "Hard Choices" was the talk of the town, and not always because the rollout was going so smoothly.

Before the first week's sales numbers were out, there were rumblings that sales wouldn't hit public expectations -- certainly landing well short of sales of "Living History," her previous autobiography, but perhaps even missing lower targets. One Clinton advisor suggested to Politico that the book be compared to former defense secretary Bob Gates' book "Duty." Which we did, and the comparison wasn't great: "Duty" had outsold "Hard Choices" handily in total volume, and it wasn't clear when Clinton would catch up.

Now it is. This next week, probably.

We got updated sales numbers from Nielsen BookScan, tracking only hardcover sales of the books, and mixed in a number of other prominent political books from the year to see what we got. At long last, Clinton's book is on the brink of passing Gates' -- thanks to a higher average weekly sales total. (Which is to be expected; since sales taper off over time, Gates' book having been out longer means more weeks with lower sales, dragging the average down.)

The books we decided to compare, in addition to the two mentioned above:

  • Ben Carson's "One Nation"
  • Dinesh D'Souza's "America" (which has had its own sales troubles)
  • Daniel Halper's "Clinton, Inc."
  • Ed Klein's "Blood Feud"
  • Elizabeth Warren's "A Fighting Chance"

And, lo:

There you go. Still in second place, but clearly not for long. At long last, the Clinton advisor's early optimism is about to bear fruit.

Philip Bump writes about politics for The Fix. He previously wrote for The Wire, the news blog of The Atlantic magazine. He has contributed to The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, The Daily, and the Huffington Post. Philip is based in New York City.
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