Published November 24, 2009
Sarah Palin, a favorite target of late night comedians and "Saturday Night Live" for more than a year, is having the last laugh. Her memoir, "Going Rogue: An American Life," has become the publishing sensation of the holiday season.
The 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate's autobiography has sold more than 700,000 copies in its first week of release -- including 300,000 on the first day alone.
Palin, a less-than-one-term Alaska governor, has even outstripped initial sales of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's memoir, "Living History." The former first lady moved 600,000 copies of her 2003 autobiography in its first week of publication. But Palin came up short against two-term President Bill Clinton, who sold 900,000 copies of his 1008-page tome, "My Life," in the first week.
On Tuesday, "Going Rogue" was the No. 1 bestseller on both Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. It also was Amazon's No. 1 bestseller in several categories, including biography, history, and non-fiction. And after ordering an initial print run of 1.5 million, Palin's publisher HarperCollins said last week that it ordered an additional million copies.
"I think people want to hear her side of the story," Jim Milliot, the business and news director of Publisher's Weekly, told FoxNews.com. "There's a lot of back and forth about her in the media and they want to know what she's about."
Both online booksellers are offering the book at steep discounts: Amazon has reduced the title by 50 percent from its $28.99 list price to $14.50, while Barnes & Noble is offering it for $17.39.
Even at such discounted prices, HarperCollins has -- or soon will -- recouped the reported $5 million advance it paid the former governor. "I think it's safe to say this was a good investment for the publisher," says Milliot. Sales of "Going Rogue" will soon break the 1 million mark and even at discounted prices, the publisher will likely make at least $4 per book.
While Palin isn't likely to start collecting royalty checks soon -- HarperCollins has to recoup overhead costs including printing, manufacturing and promotion -- both publisher and author have reason to rejoice. And political insiders says the sales of "Going Rogue" bode well for Palin, possibly providing her the forum to relaunch her political career.
"This book has allowed her to reclaim her political narrative," says Robert Costa, a William F. Buckley Jr. Fellow at the National Review, who has been blogging about Palin's book. "She has reclaimed her own story by writing it."
But the 2012 presidential election is a long way off, and Palin's political ambitions are still up in the air. "It remains to be seen if these sales can be translated into votes," Costa said.