Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s newest book, Hard Choices, debuted last week and immediately sold over 100,000 copies, according to its publisher, Simon&Schuster. While these numbers were high enough to launch the book directly to the top of the NYT non-fiction bestsellers list, they were not even close to the sales figures for opening week of her previous title, Living History.
A number of things may have caused the high numbers discrepancy, but one of the most crucial factors in the lower debut sales figures may just be the sheer lack of places to buy a book. When Clinton’s 2003 title launched, the reading public still had the Borders chain, as well as a higher number of Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million retail locations; independent bookstores were still holding their own better than they are now, too. As non-fiction tends to sell better in print than in digital, that’s a significant loss for this type of memoir. It can’t be downplayed, though, that her first book was about the life of a First Lady, which tends to sell well, and not as a politician, which might not be as appealing to as many readers.
Of course, this book is a much different animal. In her previous work, Clinton was speaking as a former First Lady, not as a former player on the political stage. And while her other book was expected to include at least some minor reference to the then-recent sex scandal involving her husband while in office, this title is anticipated to answer some of the questions around the contentious Benghazi incident.
Readers may have also hoped to uncover more information on whether or not Clinton will be running for President again. While her first campaign didn’t fare in her favor, it did launch her into her most recent role after her years as a Senator. There has been a lot of hopeful buzz around the possibility of another run at the White House, but (spoiler alert) this title doesn’t shed any new insight on the idea.