I’ve noticed for weeks that Sarah Palin’s memoir “Going Rogue” had been heavily discounted at Amazon.com, a result of a price war between the online retailer and big buyers like Wal-Mart. So I’m not surprised by Sarah Weinman’s report that the book might not make a profit for HarperCollins unless it clears 400,000 sales.
It may not be in HarperCollins’s interest to bank so much of its fall projections on Going Rogue. The publisher had a huge bust this year in Jonathan Littell’s massively hyped thousand-page novel The Kindly Ones, for which it paid $1 million that it didn’t come close to earning back… And until recently, the company’s 2009 earnings have been brutal, in line with sales of hardcover books, which have plunged 12.3% from last year, according to the Association of American Publishers.
In the end, will it matter for Palin? I don’t think so. If Michelle Malkin’s “Culture of Corruption” could top the New York Times bestseller list for five weeks, surely Palin will top it for at least one week. Palin’s book merely needs to produce juicy gossip and place her in potentially competitive 2012 states to be a “hit,” and it’ll do all of that. Early reports claim that the book skimps on policy, which is the one area commentators and possible 2012 rivals always say she needs more polish, but they don’t really mean it. The more interesting measure of Palinmania might be whether she can pull tie-in books like Matt Continetti’s “The Persecution of Sarah Palin” onto the bestseller list.