Hillary Clinton’s Book Is Either A Bomb Or A Roaring Success

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sits near copies of her book "Hard Choices" at a Little Rock, Ark., Wal-Mart store Friday, June 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
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The Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman had an exclusive Wednesday night that he said could jeopardize Hillary Clinton’s cakewalk to the White House in 2016.

Fineman reported that the retail sales for Clinton’s book, “Hard Choices,” had “plummeted another 50 percent in the third week — down to 26,190 from 48,200 the week before and 85,900 the first week of publication.”

“If books can make presidencies — and Barack Obama proved they can– then hold the talk about the inevitability of Hillary Clinton,” Fineman wrote.

Thursday morning brought a very different take on the political implications of Clinton’s book sales, courtesy of US News & World Report’s Dave Catanese.

“Hillary Clinton’s book tour may have drawn mixed reviews, but it’s clear that in the 2016 book sale race, she stands far above the competition,” Catanese wrote in the opening line of his piece.

Catanese noted that while the memoir has hardly been “a runaway smash hit,” Clinton’s book sales have lapped those of Rick Perry, Rand Paul, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush, among other 2016 contenders.

Those two stories, published within 24 hours of each other, serve as a microcosm of the competing narratives that have surrounded Clinton’s book tour, widely believed to be a launching pad for her assumed presidential run.

Republicans and conservatives, eager to derail Clinton’s White House bid before it even begins, have been quick to highlight the former secretary of state’s gaffes on her personal wealth, while pro-Hillary forces have circled the wagons.

But interpretations to Clinton’s book sales vary wildly along ideological lines, too. How well has “Hard Choices” sold? As the Washington Post’s Philip Bump detailed a few weeks ago, it probably depends on who you ask.

To that end, “Correct the Record,” a rapid response team launched last year by the Democratic super PAC American Bridge and led by a host of Clinton loyalists, blasted an email Wednesday that sought to, well, correct the record on the book sales.

Below, a portion of the email:

ATTACK: The right wing launched an attack that Hillary Clinton’s memoir, “Hard Choices,” has not been successful so far.
• “Hard Choices” is #1 on the New York Times’ Best Sellers list for the third week in a row.
• “Hard Choices” has sold more copies than books by a number of leading Republicans including Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, and Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy.
• “Hard Choices” sold more in its third week than Rand Paul and Jeb Bush’s books did total, combined!
• In the third week for sale, “Hard Choices,” sold more copies than Scott Walker’s, Rick Santorum’s and Bobby Jindal’s book ever sold.
• “Hard Choices” is among the year’s most popular nonfiction books, selling approximately 160,000 copies so far, according to the Associated Press and press reports.

• The book’s sales saw less of a drop-off in the percentage of sales in its second week of publication than her 2003 memoir, “Living History,” which went on to sell 1.1 million copies.
· “Hard Choices” debuted on the New York Times’ Best Sellers list as the No. 1 “Nonfiction Print Hardcover,” No. 1 “Nonfiction E-Book,” and No. 1 “Nonfiction Combined Print & E-Book.”
• In its first week, “Hard Choices” topped a number of best seller lists and was ranked:
o “Easily” the No. 1 adult hardcover nonfiction bestseller according to Publishers Weekly;
o No. 1 on the Nielsen BookScan nonfiction list;
o No. 1 bestselling nonfiction iBook;
o No. 1 on Barnes & Noble’s hardcover bestseller list, which includes both fiction and nonfiction; and
o No. 1 bestseller at independent bookstores.
• “Hard Choices” is an international bestseller. According to Publishers Weekly:
o In the U.K., Hard Choices was #2 on the Sunday Times bestseller list;
o In Australia, it has appeared high on the top ten state and regional bestseller lists;
o In Canada, the publisher said the memoir was a #1 bestseller;
o In Germany and France, even accounting for only a “partial week of sales,” the book landed on bestseller lists in those countries;
o In India, “Hard Choices” is currently on Amazon and Flipkart’s top ten lists.

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