Wednesday, December 17, 2014


The Washington Post's Jaime Fuller reports on a statistic that's led to some snickering:
In June, Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared on the cover of People magazine for the first time in more than a decade....

According to a report from AdWeek on Monday, the June 16 issue of People featuring the former first lady and senator was the magazine's worst selling of 2014 with 503,890 copies sold.
Hillary's star power may have faded somewhat, but it's not as if she's going to be running against George Clooney in 2016. A few days ago we had Rick Perry mocking her book sales:
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas was unsparing in his critique, citing lackluster sales of Mrs. Clinton’s latest memoir as evidence that Americans have tired of her. "She's had a hard time selling books and filling auditoriums," he observed to a table of campaign contributors....
But even her "flop" book, Hard Choices, sold approximately 250,000 copies -- more than nine times as many copies as Rick Perry's Fed Up!, which sold 27,260 copies.

(Figures are from Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 85% of U.S. hardcover sales.)

When Barack Obama was elected, he was a rock star with a couple of million-copy bestsellers under his belt. Hillary Clinton used to be that kind of rock star -- her previous book, Living History, sold a million copies in its first month.

But it;s not as if the Republicans are likely to nominate someone who sells large numbers of books -- Nielsen says Scott Walker's Unintimidated has sold 16,156 copies, Rand Paul's Government Bullies has sold 10,261, Marco Rubio's An American Son has sold 35,906, and Jeb Bush's Immigration Wars has sold 4,599. And no one's putting any of those guys on the cover of People.

Republicans do have one bestselling author in the presidential field: Ben Carson. His book One Nation has been declared a rip-roaring success by the right because it's sold ... a few more copies than Hillary Clinton's latest. Bad numbers for her are great numbers for him.

Oh, and if you're wondering, Elizabeth Warren's book has sold about 65,000 copies -- pretty good, though not at the Clinton/Carson level.

But success in one area doesn't really guarantee success in another. AdWeek tells us about a couple of other flop magazine covers this year:
And suggesting that Queen Bey is no Princess Kate when it comes to moving magazines, Beyoncé sold poorly for both OK and Life & Style.
Anyone think Beyoncé is unpopular? But put her on the cover of the wrong magazine and the magazine doesn't sell. So I wouldn't look at those People numbers for Hillary and conclude that she's doomed.


Victor said...

Familiarity doesn't have to lead to contempt.
Familiarity can also lead to a yawn.

Hillary is a known entity.
She has led the last 20+ years in the public eye.
How much more can People magazine tell us, that we don't already know.

flarenut said...

Anything based on magazine cover sales is going to be crap. Back when I was in the business, a guy who actually knew statistics went through a few years of sales numbers to see whether there was any particular kind of cover that sold better, and the answer was: not in a way that shows up in the numbers.

Sure, some huge newsmaking event will goose sales if a magazine puts it on the cover, but otherwise it's just random variations, including weather, store sales, other news...

Ten Bears said...

People magazine is a gossip rag. Voyeurs. Anyone who gets their "information" from People magazine shouldn't be allowed to vote.