Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Condibook Figures Are In

So how did the Condibook do? Publishers Weekly released their 2010 Facts 'n' Figures round-up, and Extraordinary, Ordinary People juuuuuuust barely made the "sold 100,000" cut, so it was a success!

Or was it? Last October I predicted that "the reviews will be charitable but lukewarm, and it will sell shitloads of copies." In regard to the former, I was right, because the critics were mostly kind but underwhelmed; there were no raves. As to selling shitloads of copies? Well, according to PW, it sold just under 117,000. Now, if I published a book of tour bus photographs and it sold 117,000 copies, I would call that a shitload. For a mainstream non-fiction title, that's a pretty OK number, but for a supposedly major name like Condoleezza Rice, it's a disappointment. George W. Bush's book sold over 2 1/2 million copies; Keith Richards sold over 800,000, and Sarah Palin's under-performing second book sold nearly that many. Laura Bush –Laura Bush!– managed to move over 600,000 copies of her lightweight nonsense, and Shit My Dad Says, a book based on a Twitter account, sold 761,000 hardbacks. So when you compare Condi's 117,000 to, say, Chelsea Handler's 653,000 (!!!), it starts to look pretty unimpressive. The Condibook failed to make the "e-books" list, and the juvenile version of Extraordinary, Ordinary People also failed to make the children's books list, meaning that it didn't sell 100,000 copies.

Let's look at it another way: Crown Publishers paid Condi a purported $2.5 million for three books. The kiddie book didn't sell at all (let's just say). Customers probably paid an average of $19 or $20 per copy (Amazon sells it for $15, list price is $27). That adds up to Crown not quite, or barely, making their investment back on the first two books. The third book, the one in which Condi covers her years in the White House, probably won't contain any startling revelations and, therefore, probably won't sell much better.

If you ask me, all this basically adds up to Condi being a bit of a flop in publishing. I mean, come on, a book based on a Twitter account sold seven copies to every one of Condi's title. My Passion for Design by Barbra Steisand sold more! Bringing Up Girls by James Dobson moved twice as many units!

Don't quit your day job, Condi.


Matthew Hubbard said...

Keith Richards book had to sell more. Imagine an autobiography where a guy tells the truth, or at least as much as he can remember. He has two nicknames for Mick Jagger, "Brenda" and "Her Majesty". He admits he broke bread for about two years with his son's pal Johnny Depp before he pointed at him one evening and said, "Wait! You're Scissorhands!"

Just think of how good Condi's book would be if she really let us know what she thought of Laura Bush or Donald Rumsfeld. It would be a bonanza!

hooverific said...

Uh, did you INTEND to slam the reading public along with CR? They DO deserve it after all that Harry Potter crap... Best selling: really a mark of success?

Karen Zipdrive said...

I cannot imagine a worse combination: boring+liar=Condi.

samael7 said...

The more I hear that title, Extraordinary, Ordinary People, the more annoying it gets. It either reads as a typically Condiesque equivocation in which words have been spoken but no meaning transmitted, or the heading on a review blurb of that movie from the 1980s. That one with Mary Tyler Moore. You know.

Anonymous said...

Princess Sparkle Pony will be remembered; "Dr." Rice, no. Future historians will be intrigued, however, at how such a mediocre, secondary figure -- "Dr." Rice -- was an inspiration (I can't think of a better word) for one of the most perceptive commentators on the idiocy/horrors of the Bush years.