Publisher expects big sales on ex-first lady's 'Living History'
By Cara Matthews
Westchester (N.Y.) Journal News
The long-awaited memoir "Living History," for which Hillary Rodham Clinton collected an $8 million advance, is scheduled for release June 9. Simon & Schuster is publishing the 576-page tome and an audio version read by Clinton.
"It will definitely be a best seller," predicts Cathy Paulsen, reference librarian at the Chappaqua Library in the New York hometown of the senator and former President Bill Clinton. "This is going to be at the beginning of the summer, so everybody's going to want to read it."
Clinton's publishers are counting on seven-figure sales. The memoirs about her years in the White House will have a first printing of 1 million copies, the senator's lawyer told The Associated Press.
"Only a small handful of books have a one-million-copy first printing, and I cannot think of another nonfiction book in recent history that has had that large a first printing," attorney Robert Barnett says.
Judging by orders already received, "There are going to be a lot of people buying this book," he says.
Not everyone is so sure.
"One million copies? They're optimistic," says Harold Makanoff, owner of Main Street Book Shop in White Plains, N.Y.
"There are political titles that sell a million, but they're few and far between."
Still, Makanoff says, the saga of Clinton's ascent to the Senate could move a lot of copies, simply because of her fame and the strong feelings she arouses among friends and enemies.
"Living History," which Clinton wrote in two years, will be billed as a "complete and candid" account of her years as first lady, from the healthcare debate to her husband's impeachment to the launch of her 2000 Senate campaign.
Online bookseller Amazon.com will sell the book for $19.60, offering the same 30 percent discount as Borders. The book's list price is $28. Foreign rights have been sold in 16 countries.
Hometown talk of the book at the Chappaqua Library touches off a discussion of just how candid Clinton will be.
"Is she going to talk about Monica (Lewinsky)? Is she going to address that at all?" asks Paulsen, the reference librarian.
Clinton's account of her White House years comes at a time when polls show her receiving the strongest support from Democrats for a 2004 presidential bid. But she has said she will remain a senator until her term ends in 2006.
Joan Ripley, owner of Second Story Bookshop in Chappaqua, says hers is one of two bookstores chosen by Simon & Schuster to have a book launch with an appearance by Clinton. The shop will order at least 500 copies and is accepting orders for signed copies, she says.The book is embargoed until June 9, says Victoria Meyer, Simon & Schuster's executive director for publicity, who has read it but declines to provide details.
"My lips are sealed, except I was riveted," she says.
While first lady, Clinton, now 55, produced three other books: the best seller "It Takes a Village" (Simon & Schuster, $19.50), "Invitation to the White House" (Simon & Schuster, $40) and "Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids' Letters to the First Pets" (Simon & Schuster, $20).