The Most-Viewed Book Plug of All Time

Hillary Clinton’s book gets a spotlight at the big debate.

During last night’s Presidential Debate, Hillary Clinton took advantage of one of Donald Trumps frequent baseless attacks to mention her recent campaign book, Stronger Together, authored in conjunction with her running mate, Tim Kaine. With more than 80 million viewers reportedly tuning into the debate, that makes Secretary Clinton’s shout-out (by our rigorous and highly scientific calculations) the most-viewed book plug of all time.

Here’s the exchange, courtesy of The Washington Post transcript:

TRUMP: Secretary, you have no plan.

CLINTON: In fact, I have written a book about it. It’s called Stronger Together…You can pick it up tomorrow at a bookstore…

TRUMP: That’s about all you’ve…

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT: Folks, we’re going to…

CLINTON: … or at an airport near you.

So, will the plug translate into a sales bump? With a little luck, yes! It’s more important that you get out and vote in November, and maybe knock on some doors in October, but hell, if you have a little time now, why not go to your local bookstore and buy a copy of Clinton’s newest page turner?

That begs a question, though. Do campaign books actually sell?

Released on September 3rd, Stronger Together moved a modest 2,912 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen BookScan. The figures indicates a steep downturn from Clinton’s two most recent releases — her 2014 memoir Hard Choices topped the New York Times bestseller list and 2003’s Living History sold over a million copies in its first month. Now, this could just be reader fatigue. You try following up a bestselling memoir with another hit two years later. More likely, though, we’re seeing the reflection of a more systemic issue. First month sales for campaign memoirs are down across the board this election cycle. On the Republican side, Ben Carson led the charge with A More Perfect Union selling 126,000 in October 2015, the peak of his candidacy. Donald Trump’s Crippled America (November 2o15) came in at 69,000 first month sales, second best in the field.

For comparison, in 2006, President Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope sold 182,000 copies in its first month, before he had announced his official candidacy, and has gone on to sell in the millions. The memoir was not the only chart topping bestseller birthed from the 2008 cycle, as Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue (November, 2009) eclipsed the one million copy threshhold in under three weeks.

Like most election cycle releases, Stronger Together is a policy heavy affair. Divided into three sections — Growing Together (on the economy), Safer Together (national security), and Standing Together (domestic policy) — the book affirms Secretary Clinton’s committed positions, constrasting her qualifications against her opponent’s slippery-at-best stances. With that said, it’s essentially a glorified campaign address. So, for those already well acquainted with the platform, it won’t be the most riveting read. However, for anyone who still isn’t familiar with the Clinton platform it’s at least worth a skim.

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