When he was running, briefly, for president in 2012, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty received a $340,000 advance for his book, “Courage to Stand.”
Unfortunately for the publisher, only about 12,000 copies were sold, meaning Pawlenty did fine, but the publisher took a bath.
Writer McKay Coppins uses the TPaw book as one example in a story for BuzzFeed about the end of the conservative book craze.
The conservative book business has seen better days. Ten years ago, the genre was a major source of intellectual energy on the right, and the site of a publishing boom, with conservative imprints popping up at industry giants like Random House and Penguin.
But after a decade of disruption, uneven sales, and fierce competition, many leading figures in the conservative literati fear the market has devolved into an echo of cable news, where an overcrowded field of preachers feverishly contends for the attention of the same choir.
As for Pawlenty’s book, he notes:
For example, Tim Pawlenty, a short-lived presidential candidate in 2012, received an advance of around $340,000 for his 2010 book Courage to Stand. But the book went on to sell only 11,689 copies, according to Nielsen Bookscan, which tracks most, but not all, bookstore sales. What’s more, Pawlenty’s political action committee bought at least 5,000 of those copies itself in a failed attempt to get it on the New York Times best-seller list, according to one person with knowledge of the strategy.