DeSanti’s memoir outsells Clinton, Trump, and Obama books in first week


Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new book, The Courage To Be Free, goes on sale on Sunday, March 5, 2023 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California on terms just as he is releasing his book , which came out on February 28th.
Damian Dovarganes/AP photo

  • DeSantis’ first memoir sold over 94,000 copies in its first week, a number that includes pre-orders.
  • The first week of sales dwarfed those of Donald Trump, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
  • DeSantis has traveled all over the country to talk about his book and is expected to run for president.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ first memoir has outperformed books by Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in its first week of sales.

“The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Survival” sold 94,300 copies in its first week, according to NPD BookScan, which tracks retail sales of U.S. print books. The numbers go through March 4 and include pre-orders but not e-books that people download to their Kindles or other electronic devices.

Clinton’s memoir Hard Choices, about her time in the Obama administration before her 2016 presidential bid, sold 86,200 copies in its first week, according to BookScan. Former President Barack Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope,” when the then US Senator from Illinois became a rising star in the Democratic Party, sold 67,500 copies in its first week of sale, according to BookScan.

Trump’s 2015 campaign book, Crippled America, sold 27,687 copies in its first week, according to BookScan. Back then, the real estate mogul and reality TV star made a bid for the White House that many political insiders saw as hopeless.

DeSantis has criss-crossed Florida and the US to talk about his book as he is widely expected to announce a presidential bid to challenge Trump – and likely a host of other Republicans – for the 2024 GOP nomination. “The Courage to Be Free” officially hit shelves on February 28th.

Writing a book is generally considered a requirement for a presidential nomination so voters can get to know the candidates better. It can also become a fundraising tool.

Campaigns and political committees are happy to sell candidate books for fundraisers or send them to donors as a thank you. It’s unclear to what extent this will happen to DeSantis’ book, given the timeline for election financial disclosures, which won’t be available until after Q1 at the earliest.

The New York Times ranked “The Courage to Be Free” as the #1 bestseller for print and e-book nonfiction this week, an accolade that didn’t include bulk purchases. Amazon Charts also had DeSantis’ book as the #1 best-selling for the week of March 5th.

The Courage to Be Free is published by Broadside, the conservative arm of HarperCollins Publishing owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Last week’s sales figures come as a big surprise to DeSantis, who wrote a 2011 politics book, Dreams from Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama, which reportedly sold just 125 copies as of July 2022 to BookScan.

The publisher of the 2011 book Dreams from Our Founding Fathers was High-Pitched Hum Publishing of Jacksonville, Florida, a cooperative publisher known in literary circles as the “vanity press.” DeSantis paid for the book to be published.

The book came out just as DeSantis was beginning his political career during the Tea Party movement. Then, in his mid-30s, he had just been honorably discharged from the Navy and would soon be running successfully for the US House of Representatives, where he would serve from 2013 to 2018.

“The Courage to Be Free” could also result in a big payday for DeSantis, though the specific numbers won’t be publicly recorded until DeSantis files its financial disclosure this summer, as required by state law.

Clinton received $8 million for her memoir, Living History, about her time as First Lady. BookScan has no sales in the first week the book hit shelves because it was published in 2003. The company began tracking sales in 2004, so not even the first week on sale of Trump’s 1987 “The Art of the Deal” available through BookScan.

“The Courage to be Free” could greatly enrich DeSantis, who at the end of 2021 had a net worth of $318,986.99, owns no property and carries $21,284.92 in student loans, his financial records showed.

The DeSantis political team declined to comment on this story.

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