If book sales are any indication ― and they are ― readers did, in fact, want to know What Happened during the 2016 election.
According to an Associated Press report verified by HuffPost, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s recently released book about her defeat at the hands of now-President Donald Trump has sold more than 300,000 copies across hardcover, ebook and audio formats. The opening hardcover sales alone (168,000) were enough to position What Happened as the highest-selling nonfiction release in five years. (In comparison, Mark Owen’s 2012 book No Easy Day, about the death of Osama bin Laden, sold more than 250,000 copies in its first week, per AP.)
Simon & Schuster confirmed the sales in an email to HuffPost on Wednesday. The publisher contends that the book set a company record for weekly digital audio sales, too; it sold more ebook editions in one week than any nonfiction debut from the company since Walter Isaacson’s 2011 Steve Jobs.
Several independent bookstore representatives told HuffPost that initial sales for What Happened were strong. Leigh Altshuler, communications director at the Strand in New York City, said the store sold 113 copies over the first day and a half, and hundreds of people stood in line to purchase the title from a nearby Barnes & Noble location on the book’s release day. First-week sales amounted to over 300 editions sold, bringing the title to No. 1 on the Strand’s website.
“We’ve certainly seen solid sales for What Happened since it was released,“ Jon Purves, director of marketing and publicity at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., told HuffPost on Sept. 13, the day after the book debuted. “More than 20 people preordered the book, which is strong for a new release, and there were several people waiting for us to open. Since then we’ve sold more than 50 copies in total.” On top of that, he added, Politics and Prose hosted an in-person talk with Clinton, providing 2,000 copies to ticket-holders at the event.
As of Wednesday afternoon, What Happened is No. 1 on Politics and Prose’s nonfiction sales breakdown and No. 2 on Portland-based Powell’s bestseller list. Beyond the indie purveyors, Clinton’s book is topping Barnes & Noble’s bestseller chart and coming in at No. 1 on Amazon’s nonfiction list, despite early controversy on the e-commerce platform. Shortly after the book’s release, Amazon reportedly deleted…