Monday, November 30, 2009

Sarah Palin vs Bill Clinton: How Many Book Sales?

by Lisa Graas, editor --

There seems to be some misreporting going on regarding just how many copies of Sarah Palin's memoir, "Going Rogue: An American Life", sold in its first week. Various sources are printing different numbers in comparison to the sales of former President Bill Clinton's book, "My Life". In my honest opinion, this is less due to the liberal media's resentment than it is to their inability to locate correct data. Given the choice between deeming them to be incompetent and deeming them to be malicious, it's my Christian duty to go with the lesser charge of incompetence.

The NYTimes reports that Palin's Nielsen BookScan numbers are lower than Bill Clinton's, but doesn't say whether or not the Clinton numbers are Nielsen numbers or are the overall numbers from the publisher. Nielsen numbers don't include books sold in mass retail markets like Wal-Mart. Clinton's publisher numbers being missing from the article, it's impossible to know from this report which of the two has actually come out on top. As it's written, one could gather that Palin has sold more or that Clinton has sold more, depending on how closely one is paying attention to the article.

Under a sub-heading ironically entitled "Book confusion", the BBC reports flat out that Palin has sold fewer copies than Clinton, but offers no source for the information. The "confusion" they are referring to, by the way, is that it was previously reported that White House staff were passing around copies of the anti-Palin book with a title similar to Palin's -- "Going Rouge" -- but that now it has been revealed that they "had actually been reading Palin's book". (snicker)

On a more local level, Kansas City Star is reporting only the Nielsen numbers for both authors. According to them, the number of 606,000 copies for Bill Clinton is a Nielsen number.

HuffPo reported that the number of 700,000 being reported ostensibly by Palin's publisher is not supposed to be publicly released but was given by an anonymous source. It's further reported that Bill Clinton sold 900,000 copies in its first week, but no source for this information is offered. This doesn't prevent them from offering yet another anti-Palin, sensationalized headline -- "Palin Book Sales: She's No Bill Clinton"

All of this, of course, is not so important in the big scheme of things. In my mind, the most important thing to note is this from the NYTimes piece:
Ms. Palin’s book also pulled the second-best first-week sales of any memoir by a current or past president, or vice presidential or presidential contender, Nielsen BookScan said.

I'd say that's pretty good for a hockey mom from Wasilla. Moose chili, anyone?

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