The Washington Post

Hillary Clinton’s book sales dropped even faster in week three than in week two

Do you own a hard copy of Hillary Clinton's book Hard Choices? If so, you're in exclusive company. According to data provided to the Post by Nielsen BookScan, a little over 26,000 more copies of the book were sold in its third week -- down almost 46 percent from the week prior, which was down 44 percent from the week before that.

Hillary Clinton signs copies of her new memoir 'Hard Choices' at a Costco store in Arlington, Virginia, USA, 14 June 2014. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

It has sold about 160,000 copies in hard cover, total -- just a little less than the population of Salem, Oregon. It's sold one book for every 411 Obama voters in the 2012 general election, fewer copies than there were Obama voters in every state besides the Dakotas, Alaska and Wyoming. If every Obama voter in Idaho had bought the book, it would have done 32.5 percent better. Enough people bought Hard Choices that they couldn't all fit into Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, but only 50,000 people would have to have someone sit on their laps.

Other things that went down 46 percent: Target's stock price, after a massive security breach was discovered. Viewership of golf's U.S. Open in 2014, without Tiger Woods. Nielsen ratings between Obama's first and second inaugural addresses.

This is the point at which we include our caveats. The numbers only include hardcover sales; in the first week, e-books added another 18 percent or so. Hard Choices is still doing much better than Elizabeth Warren's A Fighting Chance, which only sold 62,000 copies total as of two weeks ago. And it sold more in week one than total sales of books from Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Paul Ryan, and Jeb Bush combined. We all remember how intense the marketing blitz around those books were. (Quiz: Name the titles of two of them. Yeah, we thought so.)

After the first week of sales was rumored to be lower than expected, a "source close to Clinton's camp" suggested that comparing sales to previous presidential candidates and presidents (as we did) isn't fair. The source insisted "a better metric is other nonfiction books released this year, such as former Defense Secretary Bob Gates’ memoir, or the books written by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner."

Three weeks in, Clinton's sales trail Gates' by 58,000 copies. Owners of Duty in hardcover could fill the city of Boise (pop. 214,000) and outnumber the total 2012 Obama voter count in that state, too. The comparison to Gates probably isn't used very much anymore.

Perhaps things will turn around in Europe.

Philip Bump writes about politics for The Fix. He is based in New York City.



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