Hunter Biden's $2 million book deal sells just ... 10,000 books

Last February, I excused Hunter Biden's steep $2 million book deal as unlikely to be a disguised political bribe as such things often go, on the grounds that it probably would sell a lot of books.

I was wrong.

The attempt to scarf up profit from old pop's name by the younger Biden has been a total dud.

According to the New York Post, it's only sold about 10,638 copies.

Assuming that all of them were sold at retail full price, that would be $297,864 net for the publisher at most. At the Amazon.com rate of $19.58 (a pretty steep discount even for Amazon), it would net $208,292. Who knows how many were bought as bulk books at a steeper discount still? Yet according to previous reports, Hunter's cut would somehow have been as high as $2 million.

Perhaps, his $2 mil was premised and tied to numbers of copies sold, meaning, he wouldn't get as much. Or perhaps the publisher ate a big loss. Not all the details are for sure there. But given what the book was puffed as -- "ineffably sad and beautifully written" as New York Times big-name columnist Maureen Dowd gushed in her review, or as the blurb itself claimed, a story about 'a family forged by tragedies and bound by a remarkable, unbreakable love,' that's an awful lot of nothing, and there aren't many such losses of this kind that a publisher can handle.

Fact is, the book sold like a dud, because it was written like a dud, and somehow the publisher allowed it.

It contained details of Hunter's merry ride through the world of crack addiction with flopouts and drug parties and all the sort of garbage we know about, except with his name attached. But it was otherwise "a whitewash," as a savvier, not-in-the-tank Maureen, New York Post columnist Maureen Callahan, wrote.

She actually picked through the thing and her analysis certainly kept me from shelling out on the book which she exposed as unreconstructed addict lies and other rubbish, plus a lot of important things ignored, such as his abandoned laptop or his Burisma deal that he won't talk about. Who'd buy that?

She also put her finger on why the book was so appalling:

Why are so many prominent reporters and columnists covering this memoir — those who pride themselves on always being right-thinking and woke — able to avoid asking this hard, obvious question: How many black or Hispanic crack addicts do you know who have never served time? Who got a mortgage for a $1.6 million home, as Hunter did in 2006, with no money down?

Who got appointed to the board of Amtrak or scored super-high-paying gigs “consulting” for international firms while high on crack and booze? Given passes for cheating on their wives with strippers, hookers, or their dead brother’s wife? While knocking up a stripper on the side?

And is then rewarded with a rumored $2 million book deal?

There’s a lot of padding in this book: Pages on the socioeconomic history of Delaware, on how, where and with whom Hunter smoked crack (as boring as it sounds), a bland and exculpatory 17½-page chapter on what he says he did to earn $50,000 a month from Burisma.

“Make sure,” Hunter tells us, “Burisma further implemented corporate practices that were up to ethical snuff.”

Oh, yes: When it comes to ethics, Hunter Biden’s clearly your guy.

Given that the book was touted and promoted hard, (which surely added a lot to the cost of publishing), and given that it sure as heck didn't sell worth jack, it brings back the prospect of a political bribe back into the picture. How could the publisher have been so wrong, so mistaken, about its prospects for sales? 

Worse still, why didn't they throw the lousy manuscript back to Hunter and make him rewrite it until he got honest and the book got salable?  

Nobody from the book-buying public wants to buy such garbage, not really. At best the publisher imagined errantly that the glowing press and flawed polls about Joe Biden's supposed popularity would take this book to profitability, even if it was a whitewash. Now they're eating some kind of loss, maybe a bad one. Bribe? Payoff? Such things have actually happened in the book-publishing world, when high losses are intentionally taken. Given what they paid out to the wastrel younger son of the fraudulently elected president, they ought to at least explain how and why they could accept such junk and guess so wrong on their sales projections.

 Image: Acaben, via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

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