Sales Fails

Christine Quinn’s Lackluster Book Debut & More Political-Memoir Flops

Following the unwritten rules for running for political office, Christine Quinn announced her candidacy for mayor ... and then released a memoir. But how helpful is it if only 100 copies sell? Here’s a look at other politicians who’ve penned not-so-successful books.

06.20.13 6:15 PM ET

New York mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn's new memoir, With Patience and Fortitude, was released last week—and no one wants to read it. Taking the world by drizzle, the City Council speaker's personal history reveals details of her struggle with bulimia, the loss of her mother, and her coming out, but only about 100 printed copies have sold, according to Nielsen BookScan. Even her own neighborhood bookstores aren't stocking it. Still, Quinn should take heart: lots of political powerhouses have had flops. Check out these less-than-stellar sellers, based on the latest Nielson sales figures.

Nancy Pelosi

Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters (2008)

Total Sales: 22,000

A message to Nancy Pelosi: America finds your inspirational life lessons boring. The speaker managed to sell only 2,737 copies of Know Your Power in the first week of its release.

Joe Biden

Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics (2007)

Total Sales: 49,000

Joe Biden might be weighing a 2016 run, but his book sales are far from presidential. The vice president's Promises to Keep sold nowhere near the over 4 million copies Obama’s two memoirs garnered and earned him less than $201 in royalties last year. Maybe Biden should pen a follow-up before the next election; Hillary Clinton, who may end up being his major competition, has a new memoir coming out next year.

Sarah Palin

America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag (2010)

Total Sales: 286,000

Not a flop, per se, but nowhere near the success Sarah Palin had with Going Rogue, which sold 700,000 copies and received a second printing within the first week of its release. America by Heart saw a modest initial press run of 1 million copies and failed to nab a second printing.

Mitt Romney

"No Apology: The Case for American Greatness" is a new book by Former Governor Mitt Romney on March 5, 2010 in Washington DC.     AFP PHOTO / Tim Sloan (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty

“No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.”

No Apology: The Case for American Greatness (2010)

Get The Beast In Your Inbox!
By clicking "Subscribe," you agree to have read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
Thank You!
You are now subscribed to the Daily Digest and Cheat Sheet. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason

Total Sales: 127,000

Sure, Mitt Romney's 2010 tome on American strength was technically on the New York Times bestseller list, but does it count as a success if he made institutions where he was speaking "for free" buy them?

Rod Blagojevich

The Governor (2009)

Total Sales: 4,000

With The Governor, disgraced politico Rod Blagojevich promised to give us an insider's glimpse into the Illinois-Senate-seat-for-sale scandal that kept us glued to our sets. So why did no one want to read it? According to reviews, Blagojevich glossed over the truth more than he revealed it. Suffice it to say, this thing was not “fucking golden.” Maybe he should have just given copies away for nothing.

Christine O’Donnell

Troublemaker: Let’s Do What It Takes to Make America Great Again (2011)

Total Sales: 3,000

Christine "I'm not a witch" O’Donnell can't win. Seriously, the Tea Party favorite has thrice run for a Delaware Senate seat and lost. She certainly could have used a little magic to help the sad sales of Troublemaker; it sold just 2,200 copies in the first couple of weeks, and she had to appear at nearly empty book signings.

Michele Bachmann

Core of Conviction: My Story (2011)

Total Sales: 9,000

Wide-eyed Minnesota Congresswomen Michele Bachmann's Core of Conviction sold just 3,000 copies in the first few weeks of its release. Hardly seems worth the ethics-violation probe she now faces for allegedly using presidential campaign staff to promote the conservative manifesto.

Harry Reid

The Good Fight: Hard Lessons From Searchlight to Washington (2008)

Total Sales: 5,500

The Senate majority leader’s second chapter leads with, “As a boy, I learned to swim at a whorehouse.” Maybe Harry Reid should have stuck with the personal details, since it looks like no one wanted to read about his quarrels with the Bush administration.

Rielle Hunter

What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me (2012)

Total Sales: 13,000

So Rielle Hunter’s not a politician, but she knows one very, very well. This book had all the makings of a hit, but a media blitz gave away all the good parts of her affair with presidential candidate John Edwards, and people had had quite enough of Hunter by the time her tell-all, What Really Happened, was released. Either that or her publishing house underestimated the boycott power of Team Elizabeth. The memoir sold 6,000 copies in its first week, but sales sputtered, and her book tour was canceled.