Parsing Hillary’s #1 Bestseller

After the mainstream news media spent last Monday and Tuesday arguing over how many copies of Hillary Clinton’s new book were purchased in its first week, BookScan reported that Hard Choices sold 85,721 copies, good enough to put it at #1 on our Hardcover Nonfiction list. That showing, of course, was not enough to keep the political pundits and others obsessed with a possible Clinton run for the White House from debating whether the book bombed or sold according to expectations. Clinton’s publisher, Jonathan Karp of Simon & Schuster, issued a statement declaring that the company is “thrilled with Hard Choices’s strong start right out of the gate.” Hard Choices didn’t fare as well as Bill Clinton’s My Life, which was released in June 2004 and sold 597,241 copies in its first week, or George W. Bush’s November 2010 Decision Points, which sold 432,951 copies in one week (both were released before e-books were a factor in the market). But it did sell better in its debut week than other recent political memoirs, including Elizabeth Warren’s A Fighting Chance (13,943), Robert Gates’s Duty (80,278), and this May’s Stress Test by Timothy Geithner (11,062).—Jim Milliot

Gabaldon’s Eighth Wrinkle in Time

It’s been five years since the release of An Echo in the Bone, the previous installment in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and fans could hardly wait to get their hands on the sequel, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. It debuts this week at #1 on our Hardcover Fiction bestseller list, with 88,751 copies sold—eight times the unit sales of this week’s #2 Hardcover Fiction bestseller, The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand.

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood continues the saga of Claire Fraser and her husband, Jamie, time-traveling lovers who have been ricocheting between his world in the 18th century and hers in the 20th century, since Claire, a combat nurse, stepped through a circle of magic stones in 1945 in Outlander (1991) and landed in 1743 Scotland. During an interview with PW last year, Gabaldon explained that Outlander originally was conceived as a “practice” novel, an exercise to see if she could write. It only became a series after her agent, Russell Galen, not only sold Outlander but also promised Random House that there was much more to Claire and Jamie’s time-tripping love story. Galen wasn’t kidding: besides approximately 2.5 million words across eight epic novels of a series that may or may not conclude with the ninth volume, there’s been a spin-off series of four Lord John Grey novels, short stories, novellas, a graphic novel, and The Outlandish Companion, Vol. I. And, of course, there’s also Outlander: The Musical, as well as a television miniseries adaptation of the 1991 release. The first of 16 scheduled episodes premieres in the U.S. on the cable channel Starz on August 9.—Claire Kirch

Of Blessed Memory

Menachem Schneerson has been dead 20 years, but the rebbe who made the Chabad-Lubavitch movement into a dynamic international force continues to fascinate. Rebbe by Joseph Telushkin is #6 on our Hardcover Nonfiction list. A highly readable doorstop of a book (624 pages) with an impressive endnotes section, the biography went back to press even before going on sale, and now has 55,000 copies in print. It has received extensive publicity, including in the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Huffington Post, and the Jewish press, and digital advertising has appeared on Tablet and Jewish Week Online. “While we always knew we had a real winner on our hands with Rebbe; the public’s interest in this remarkable leader is even greater than we realized,” said Katherine Beitner, director of publicity at HarperWave. PW’s review called the book an “admiring but honest look at Schneerson and his legacy,” and, speaking to PW, Telushkin, a prolific writer, described his work as an “admiring book, but one that has been written with open eyes.”—Marcia Z. Nelson

Top 10 Overall

Rank Title Author Imprint This Week Units
1 The Fault in Our Stars John Green Penguin/Speak 170,218
2 The Fault in Our Stars (movie tie-in) John Green Penguin/Speak 92,093
3 Written in My Own Heart’s Blood Diana Gabaldon Delacorte 88,751
4 Hard Choices Hillary Rodham Clinton Simon & Schuster 85,721
5 Mr. Mercedes Stephen King Scribner 58,326
6 Looking for Alaska John Green Penguin/Speak 34,870
7 The Fault in Our Stars (hardcover) John Green Dutton 31,195
8 Paper Towns John Green Penguin/Speak 27,330
9 Dork Diaries #7: Tales from a Not-So-Glam... Rachel Renée Russell S&S/Aladdin 26,980
10 One Nation Ben Carson Penguin/Sentinel 26,811