How the Internet Crushed Hillary Clinton’s Recent Book

Marketing July 14, 2014

The internet is arguably the fastest evolving medium of our time. From Email to social media, to a plethora of gadgets to accentuate its use, the web is the central focus of an endless list of applications.

Because of the internet’s growth, we’re seeing a major shift in how the average consumer’s purchasing decisions are influenced.

For years, the widely-regarded recipe for success in the book market consisted of a powerful PR gig comprised of a plethora of radio interviews, TV interviews, speeches, and book signing events. While these major publicity events have proven successful in the past, they’ve just been crushed by the internet. Here’s how:

Hillary Clinton Versus…Who?

Former first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton recently launched a new book, Hard Choices. In natural fashion, the book’s launch accompanied the aforementioned traditional modes of promotion to fulfill high hopes of thriving sales, not only for Hillary, but for her publisher, Simon & Schuster.

Hillary Clinton’s book, Hard Choices, on Amazon.

To the surprise of some, however, Hillary’s book featured an underwhelming release, viewed by critics as none other than, “a bomb.” Selling “60,000 hardcovers the first week,” sales fell way below the initial goal of 150,000-hardcover sales. As the Weekly Standard noted:

“They sold 60,000 hard covers first week and 24,000 ebooks.” The publishing house was “hoping and praying for 150,000 print first week.”

“The 60k represents a less than 10% sell thru based on what they shipped,” says the source.

It’s been reported that one million copies of Clinton’s book were shipped weeks before the June 10 publication date. “They will be lucky to sell 150,000 total lifetime,” the source writes in the email.

Only a few short weeks later, internet pioneer Jeff Walker launched his own book, titled Launch, fittingly enough. In almost no time, Jeff’s book skyrocketed to the top of Amazon’s popular titles. Only days later, Launch graced the number one spot aboard The New York Times bestseller list. Two accomplishments with which he was able to match the political juggernaut.

Jeff Walker’s book. Launch, on Amazon.
The New York Times bestseller list.

Hold on a moment. For this to be remotely possible, Jeff Walker would’ve needed to receive a multitude of TV interviews, radio ads, and news coverage, right? Wrong.

The launch of Jeff’s book consisted of one powerful tool: the internet. A recent Email sent out by Jeff gives more insight:

“Right now, Hillary Clinton is out on a book tour supporting her new book—and it’s an NYT bestseller. (Her book is actually on a different
segment of the NYT list than my book.)

Hillary is supported by all kinds of traditional PR, media, and advertising. That’s the old way.

Meanwhile, I hit #1 NYT without any PR or media or interviews, and I did it all from my home in Colorado. And I did it by using the strategies in LAUNCH. I like my way better.”

The Changing Tides of Influence

From his home in Colorado, Jeff Walker paralleled the popularity of a woman who’s considered by many as the Democratic frontrunner for the 2016 presidency. To repeat, one of the most influential women in the world was matched by a man working from his home in Colorado.

If this doesn’t display the power and impact of today’s interwebs, little else does.

What does this mean? For the average internet user, it means that the barrier of influential power has been broken. Now, anyone with a computer and a decent internet connection has the potential and ability to make waves even larger than those given air time in today’s news networks and traditional PR methods.

While some may argue that Hillary’s slumping book sales were due to poor content, surrounding politics, or a number of other variables; it’s worth underscoring the waning effectiveness of traditional promotion when compared with the web.

Some could argue the internet actually hurt Hillary’s book sales from the book’s multitude of bad reviews, not only on Amazon, but abroad.

Whatever the reason for Hillary’s book shortcomings, one thing is for sure.

Her book fought the web and the web won.

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