In the first week after its release in October, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's memoir, "All Things Possible," sold almost impossibly poorly. According to Nielsen Bookscan, fewer than 1,000 people picked up a copy that week. And as of last month, the grand total of all sales was at 3,008. (Plus 13 audiobooks.)
But before you go complaining that being a writer is unrewarding work, know that Cuomo's time and effort was worth it -- financially, at least.
According to his tax release, made public on Wednesday, Cuomo reported earning $377,000 in income on the book in 2014. That's apparently on top of the $188,333 he got as an advance that was reported in his 2013 filing, meaning that Cuomo seems to have made north of $565,000 for his book though last month.
Or: Nearly $188 per hardcover book.
At Amazon, Cuomo's (one-star) book retails for $21.74 in hardcover. (The audiobook is a staggering $31.95!) So Cuomo could have bought eight of his books at retail prices for the amount he made on each one. He could not have afforded even one copy of this "Easy Dictionary of the Qur'aan," which sells for a totally reasonable $4.3 million.
The amount he's earned per book will drop as more sales come in, of course. Maybe it did really well in softcover! Or perhaps the book sold heavily over the last few days, since the Nielsen numbers came out. If it sold, say, 10,000 copies total, then Cuomo's only getting $56 per book, which is much more reasonable.
We will warn our younger readers that this return on investment is not common in the literary world. Often, authors make very little money on their work! But Cuomo seems to have found a loophole.
A final note: Amazon reviewer "steven harder" suggests that the book "should be retitled how I striped new yorkers of there rights." To be fair, it couldn't hurt sales.