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Sales drop in second week for ‘Hard Choices’

June 25, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Sales for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “Hard Choices” dropped sharply in its second week of publication, but her memoir remains the country’s most popular adult nonfiction book.

According to Nielsen BookScan numbers released Wednesday, “Hard Choices” sold just over 48,000 copies last week, compared to around 85,000 the previous week. The figures do not include e-book sales. Publisher Simon & Schuster, which had announced that total first-week sales exceeded 100,000 copies, declined Wednesday to offer any numbers on the second week.

Simon & Schuster issued a statement Tuesday saying that “Hard Choices” was placing high on best-seller lists around the world, although the publisher offered few specific numbers.

“We can think of no other recent book written by an American leader to receive such an enthusiastic international reception,” Jonathan Karp, president and publisher of Simon & Schuster, said in a statement.

“Hard Choices,” which covers Clinton’s four years as secretary of state, was released June 10. It has been among the most publicized books of the year, with an advance print run of 1 million copies, and is easily outselling such popular nonfiction works as Thomas Piketty’s “Capital In the Twenty-First Century.” Whether “Hard Choices,” the fourth best-selling book overall on the Nielsen chart, can be called a success or disappointment depends on your perspective.

Sales are far behind the pace of her previous memoir, “Living History,” which came out in 2003 and sold around 600,000 copies its first week. But “Living History” had a stronger commercial hook — Clinton’s thoughts on President Bill Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky — and was published at a time when e-books were almost nonexistent and there were hundreds more physical book stores. Releases such as Clinton’s, a 600-plus page nonfiction work focused on foreign policy, tend to sell much better in paper editions than as e-books.

Much of the pre-publication interest in “Hard Choices” centered on whether she would indicate if she were running for president in 2016. She writes in the book, and has said in interviews, that she remains undecided.

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