Less than a month after its official release date of June 10, Hillary Clinton's book, "Hard Choices," has today plunged below the Amazon Top 100 list to a humbling #102 as of this writing. Over at Simon & Schuster, the book publisher who paid Hillary a big campaign contribution in the form of a whopping $14 million advance, there is now a lot of angry finger pointing according to the New York Post's Page Six.
Just as humbling is the news that Hillary's book has been replaced at the top of the New York Times Best Seller list by Edward Klein's "Blood Feud" which is highly critical of her. To make this a trifecta of bad news for her, comes a report on a new metric, the Hawking Index, which shows that the few people who actually attempt to read "Hard Choices," don't make it past page 33. First let us look at the upset executives at Simon & Schuster as reported by Page Six:
There’s hand-wringing and finger-pointing at Simon & Schuster over the soft performance of Hillary Clinton’s “Hard Choices,” for which she got a $14 million advance, sources said — and which was replaced at No. 1 on the best-seller list this week by an “exposé” about Hillary and Bill Clinton.
The former secretary of state’s tome sold 161,000 copies in its first three weeks, according to Nielsen BookScan — but 85,000 of those were sold in the first week. That number has dropped sharply to 48,000 and 28,000 in subsequent weeks, with most recent numbers due out Wednesday.
Simon & Schuster shipped an optimistic 1 million copies to stores. Hillary reportedly got $8 million for her last book for the publisher, “Living History,” which sold 438,000 in its first week and more than 1.15 million copies overall.
Adding insult to injury, the new book was pushed from the No. 1 spot on the New York Times best-seller list this week by Edward Klein’s story of the Clintons’ pained relationship with Barack and Michelle Obama, “Blood Feud.” A source close to Hillary has blasted the book, along with its author, as “dastardly” and a combination of “pathological lying, hate and just flat-out creepiness.”
“There’s lots of finger-pointing going on at Simon & Schuster,” over the very expensive Clinton deal, a source told Page Six.
And the steadily declining number of people still buying Hillary's book don't seem to get very far into it, or at least past page 33 according to the Hawking Index as reported by the Washington Post:
Jordan Ellenberg, a professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, outlined what he calls the "Hawking Index" in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. The index is a way to estimate how far into books people actually get. It's named for Stephen Hawking, author of the dense "A Brief History of Time" which, swear to God, I've actually read. (In part.)
It works like this: Every time people highlight something in a book on their Kindles, Amazon records that data. Ellenberg takes the top five highlights listed at the site for any given book and correlates them to a page number. Comparing the average page number of those five highlights to the length of the book gives you a sense of how many people made it how far in. (He adds: "Disclaimer: This is not remotely scientific and is for entertainment purposes only!" Which, fine.) The summer's most-read book? Donna Tartt's "The Goldfinch." Least-read? Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," for which the notations only get about 2.4 percent of the way in.
So, naturally, we decided to apply this methodology to "Hard Choices" and other recent or comparable political books. And we have our own ranking, which we now present in order from estimated-least- to estimated-most-read.
1. "Hard Choices," by Hillary Clinton. Hawking Index: 2.04 percent. Well, there you have it. The deepest into Hard Choices the popular highlights get is page 33, a quote about smart power. Three of the five most-popular highlights occur within the first 10 pages. We will note the same caveat that Ellenberg applies to Piketty. "Hard Choices" is fairly new, and fairly long. Still, though, one would think more people had made it past page 33.
One question is how soon will Costco be pulling Hillary's book from its stores due to poor sales? Also, when do her books start appearing in the Dollar Store book bins? Finally, how does one recycle over 800,000 copies of unread books? Perhaps they could be sent down to the socialist nation of Venezuela with the biggest oil reserves in the world to be recycled as "papel de tush" which the people there are sorely lacking.