The sales are not missing.


(Little, Brown and Knopf)

In what must be a huge relief to its publishers, “The President Is Missing,” by Bill Clinton and James Patterson, had a banner debut week.

More than 147,000 hardcover copies of the thriller were sold from June 4 to June 10.

This morning, Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for Penguin Random House, tweeted: “THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING lives up to blockbuster status by selling more copies in its first week in stores than any other work of hardcover fiction published since 2016.”

Sales that high would make it the best-selling adult hardcover novel since Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” was released in the summer of 2015.

The Clinton-Patterson thriller was also the No. 1 hardcover novel in the greater Washington market, outselling the No. 2 novel, Stephen King’s “The Outsider,” by seven times.

“The President Is Missing,” an unusual joint publication from Knopf and Little, Brown, is about a widowed president of the United States who goes underground to defend the country from a potentially devastating cyberattack.

Bogaards said “The President Is Missing” has sold about 260,000 copies in all formats — hardcover, e-book and audio. The initial hardcover print run was reportedly 1 million copies.

Financial details of the joint book deal were not released, but the project was arranged by Washington lawyer Robert Barnett, who has served as an agent for both authors before this. Clinton reportedly secured a $15 million advance for his 2004 autobiography, “My Life,” and Patterson is among the highest earning writers in the world, with more than 300 million copies in print.

Last week’s exceptional sales of “The President Is Missing” took place despite a rough start to the book’s publicity tour. Hours after the thriller went on sale June 4, Clinton and Patterson appeared on NBC’s “Today” show for what should have been a celebration. Instead, the former president faced questions about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. His defensive response spurred several days of negative publicity as the book tour went on.

Ron Charles is the editor of Book World and host of TotallyHipVideoBookReview.com.