In its first week on sale, James Comey’s memoir cum manifesto A Higher Loyalty sold 600,000 copies in all formats (print, audio, and electronic). By contrast, Joe Concha reminds us, Hillary Clinton’s memoir cum apologia What Happened, sold 300,000 copies in its first week. Whereas Comey is one of the many villains of Hillary’s story, Comey is the hero of his own. I find it hard to believe that anyone would spend his own money for the privilege of reading either of these books.
Yet to come tonight is Comey’s appearance at a CNN town hall moderated by Anderson Cooper. Tomorrow he checks in with Bret Baier on the FOX News Special Report. He would make a bid for Mount Rushmore if it weren’t beneath him.
The benchmark of extraordinary commercial success for such a book is hardcover sales exceeding 2,000,000 copies. Sarah Palin surpassed the benchmark with Going Rogue in 2009-2010. This year Michael Wolff surpassed it it with Fire and Fury. Comey isn’t there yet, but he’s headed in the right direction at an impressive pace. The success of Wolff’s and Comey’s books is symptomatic of Trump derangement syndrome, if not of the gathering storm.
One more thought. Comey holds himself out as an exemplar of ethical leadership while he cashes in on the notoriety he achieved with his shoddy conduct in high office. His lack of self-awareness may be great for the book. One can only hope that it will prove his nemesis.