Keller @ Large: Patrick Book Not Box Office Boffo

Gov. Deval Patrick’s memoir may be compelling. But it isn’t selling — at least, not selling well enough so far to justify the $1.3 million advance paid by Broadway Books for “A Reason to Believe: Lessons from an Improbable Life.”

The book was officially released on April 12, kicking off a media blitz including high-profile appearances on the “Today Show” and “The Daily Show.” Thirty-five days later, after a one-week-stand at #25 on the New York Times bestseller list and a one-week visit to the Boston Globe’s list, Nielsen Bookscan had logged 4,293 copies sold, according to data supplied by an industry source.

By comparison, in March, Politico noted that roughly a month after the release of his memoir, Sen. Scott Brown had a “disappointing” 15,534 copies sold, also according to Nielsen Bookscan, which monitors bookstore sales. (It’s not known how many copies were purchased by Brown himself for use as gifts to supporters and donors, a common industry practice that Patrick has so far eschewed, according to a spokesman for his campaign committee.)

With the national publicity tour behind him and only a sparse schedule of local appearances by the author still advertised on the Broadway Books website, the sales future of the book is uncertain. Says one high-placed executive in the publishing industry: “If I was the editor who paid $1.3M for a book that’s netted that many copies in its first month of publication, I’d be looking for a new job.”

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