scorecardRon DeSantis' memoir sold more copies in its first week than books by Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton
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Ron DeSantis' memoir sold more copies in its first week than books by Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton

Kimberly Leonard   

Ron DeSantis' memoir sold more copies in its first week than books by Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton
PoliticsPolitics3 min read
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' new book "The Courage To Be Free," is offered for sale at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, Sunday, March 5, 2023. DeSantis has quietly begun to expand his political coalition on his terms just as he releases his book, which came out February 28.    Damian Dovarganes/AP Photo
  • DeSantis' first memoir sold over 94,000 copies in its first week, a number that includes preorders.
  • The first week of sales eclipsed those of Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' first memoir has outsold books by Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama during 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 US print books. The numbers go up to March 4 and include pre-orders but not e-books that people download onto their Kindles or other electronic devices.

Clinton's memoir "Hard Choices," about her time working in the Obama administration before mounting her 2016 presidential run, sold 86,200 copies in its first week, according to BookScan. Former President Barack Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope," as the then-Illinois US Senator became a rising star in the Democratic Party, sold 67,500 copies in its first week of sales, according to BookScan.

Trump's 2015 campaign book "Crippled America" sold 27,687 copies in its first week, BookScan shows. At the time, the real estate mogul and reality TV star was launching a bid for the White House that many political insiders saw as a long shot.

DeSantis has been crisscrossing Florida and the US to talk about his book as he's widely expected to announce a presidential run to challenge Trump — and likely a slew of other Republicans — for the 2024 GOP nomination. "The Courage to Be Free" officially hit shelves on February 28.

Writing a book is generally considered to be a prerequisite to running for president so voters can get to know candidates better. It can also become a fundraising tool.

Campaigns and political committees like to sell candidates' books for fundraising or mail them out as thank-you gifts to donors. It's unclear to what extent this is happening with DeSantis' book given the timeline of elections' financial disclosures, which won't be available until after the first quarter at the earliest.

The New York Times had "The Courage to Be Free" as its No. 1 bestseller this week for print and e-book nonfiction, a distinction that didn't include bulk purchases. Amazon Charts also had DeSantis' book as No. 1 most purchased for the week of March 5.

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

The sales numbers for the last week are a big tunaround for DeSantis from 2011, when he wrote a policy book titled "Dreams from Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama," which only sold 125 copies through July of 2022, according to BookScan.

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

The book came out when DeSantis was starting 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 run successfully for the US House, 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 recorded publicly until DeSantis files his financial disclosure this summer, as is required by state law.

Clinton received $8 million for her memoir "Living History," about her time as First Lady. BookScan doesn't have sales for the first week that book hit the shelves because it was published in 2003. The company began tracking sales in 2004, so the first week of sales for Trump's 1987 "The Art of the Deal" also aren't available through BookScan.

"The Courage to be Free" could greatly enrich DeSantis, who as of the end of 2021 had a net worth of $318,986.99, doesn't own property, and carries $21,284.92 in student loans, his financial records showed.

The DeSantis political team declined to comment for this story.