Amy Schumer’s book The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo is not performing nearly as well as Simon & Shuster hoped. An article from the inquirer stated that, “Schumer’s book only sold a measly 36,000 hardcover copies in its first week of release.” This number is real, but it only looks at one aspect of books sales: hardcovers.
For most authors, selling 36,000 hardcovers in the first week is not bad at all. The reason why this is a big story is because Simon & Schuster paid Schumer $9 million dollars for the opportunity to publish her book. Even though Schumer’s book was a in the best-seller position on Amazon for two weeks and sold over 170,000 copies, it is still considered a flop.
The real failure here is Simon & Schuster’s wildly overblown purchasing price. By having such a high advance, they had to increase the list price to $29.99, nobody wants to pay that much for a book. Hillary Clinton’s memoir didn’t even garner an advance that large from her publisher, neither did J.K. Rowling’s No Vacancy which only got a $7 million advance. Schumer is popular, but she is not as popular as Clinton or as well-established of a writer as Rowling.
Ever since Schumer became a break out star, she has been neck deep in the internet war going on between the sexes. Her comedy focuses on issues of sex and gender, which stirs up a lot of conversation. Unfortunately a lot of that conversation gets taken over by people with an axe to grind. Any website where the book is open to reviews falls into the boys vs girls dichotomy we are used to seeing in kindergarten playgrounds. This book has the potential to open up serious dialogue about feminist/gender issues, instead we see the polarizing 5 star vs. 1 star reviews. A note for serious readers: ignore the comment section.
The book itself has been successful, despite any cultural disputes she’s involved in. Selling 170,000 copies of your personal memoir is huge and should not be considered a loss. Most importantly she deposited a $9 million dollar paycheck before the book was even published. If that’s what you call failure, sign me up.
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