James Comey’s “A Higher Loyalty” had a very big opening week. Flatiron Books announced Tuesday that sales topped 600,000 copies, a number that includes print, audio and e-books. The former FBI director’s memoir has been one of the year’s most anticipated releases and includes his accounts of investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails and of his awkward encounters with President Donald Trump.
Reviews have been mostly favorable, with The New York Times calling the book “impassioned” and “absorbing.” And Trump, who has showed a knack for helping publications he despises, tweeted that Comey was an “untruthful slime ball.” Comey, fired by Trump a year ago, has likened the president to a crime boss who values personal loyalty over service to the country.
Published April 17, “A Higher Loyalty” is the hottest political book since Michael Wolff’s million-selling “Fire and Fury,” which came out in January. Its first week sales, which include pre-orders, well exceed those of “Fire and Fury.” But the two books, both published by imprints of Macmillan, had very different launches.
“A Higher Loyalty” has been talked about for months and had an announced pre-release print run of 850,000 copies. The demand for “Fire and Fury” seemed to catch many people, including Trump, by surprise. The announced print run by Henry Holt and Co. was just 150,000 copies and many stores went out of stock during the book’s initial time on sale. Thanks to unusually large e-book sales for a nonfiction release and a rush to get hardcover copies back onto shelves, “Fire and Fury” had sold more than 500,000 copies within two weeks and well over 1 million copies after three weeks.
The fastest-selling nonfiction books in recent memory include Bill Clinton’s `’My Life” and Sarah Palin’s `’Going Rogue,” both of which were million sellers after two weeks of publication. Among fiction releases, J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” sold more than 8 million copies in its first 24 hours.
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