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Hillary Clinton’s new book debuted to higher sales than any nonfiction hardcover since 2012

Clinton’s What Happened sold over 300,000 copies in its first week.

Hillary Clinton Signs Copies Of Her New Book 'What Happened' In NYC Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

Hillary Clinton’s new book, What Happened, has had an incredibly high-performing first week of sales, reports Publishers Weekly.

According to sales figures from Nielsen BookScan, which tracks 85 percent of book sales across the country (excluding digital and audio sales), Clinton has sold 167,000 hardcover copies of What Happened since it came out on September 12. Her publisher Simon & Schuster says that when you account for ebook and audiobook sales, Clinton’s sales numbers surpass 300,000 copies.

Either way, it’s a major debut. According to ABC News, the last hardcover nonfiction book to achieve such an impressive first week in sales was Mark Owen's No Easy Day, a 2012 memoir about the killing of Osama bin Laden, which sold more than 250,000 copies the week it was released.

This opening does not quite match the opening of Clinton’s 2003 memoir Living History, which according to Publisher’s Weekly sold 438,000 hardcover copies in its first week — perhaps in part because it discussed the Monica Lewinsky affair and book-buyers love a sex scandal, but probably mostly because it came out before ebooks existed, and all hardcover books sold more back then.

"The remarkable response to What Happened indicates that, notwithstanding all that has been written and discussed over the last year, there is clearly an overwhelming desire among readers to learn about and experience, from Hillary Clinton's singular perspective, the historic events of the 2016 election," said Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy in a statement. "In its candor and immediacy, What Happened is satisfying that demand."

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