If potential Republican presidential candidates' recent book sales are a strong indication of their electability, then Ben Carson is the winner by a landslide.
The retired neurosurgeon's latest book has sold 347,752 hardcover copies, according to the latest figures from Nielsen BookScan.
Sarah Palin's 2009 book "Going Rogue" sold 1,393,161 copies, but her latest book has sold far fewer copies – just 77,000
Interestingly, book sales can't seem to be pinned on a candidate's popularity. Marco Rubio’s new book, "American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone," has sold a paltry 2,080 copies since its release Jan. 13.
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However, Mike Huckabee is considering a 2016 bid and his new book "God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy" hit No. 3 on the New York Times bestseller list, already selling 14,588 copies since Jan. 20.
Here is a list of candidates' books in order of sales. For authors with more than one book, only the latest work is considered. All figures are for hardcover sales only. [Note that Nielsen BookScan does not monitor sales at all points of purchase, and several books including those by Rubio and Huckabee were just published in January.]
1. Ben Carson, "One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future"
(published May 2014) – 347,752 copies
The retired neurosurgeon and bestselling author's call to action admonishes politicians over Obamacare and other issues and encourages Americans to take more individual responsibility for themselves. The book was No. 1 on the New York Times list of bestsellers for five weeks.
2. Sarah Palin, "Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas"
(November 2013) – 77,000
The former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate calls for the freedom to express the Christian values of Christmas, and laments the over-commercialization of the holiday season. Her book "Going Rogue: American Life" at one point topped the New York Times bestseller list.
3. Rick Perry, "Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington"
(November 2010) – 27,360
The former Texas governor argues that Americans are being over-taxed and over-regulated, and are "tired of being told what kind of cars we can drive, what kinds of guns we can own." Conservative talk radio host Mark Levin said Perry "explains that we can and will save America by taking necessary steps to restore the proper balance of power between federal and state government."
4. Carly Fiorina, "Tough Choices: A Memoir"
(September 2007) — 43,713
The 2010 U.S. Senate candidate from California recounts her six years as CEO of technology giant Hewlett-Packard and reveals the private person behind the public persona. It was a New York Times bestseller.
5. Bobby Jindal, "Leadership and Crisis"
(November 2012) — 20,025
The Louisiana governor recounts how he dealt with two environmental disasters: the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Hurricane Katrina. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wrote that Jindal's "competent, no-nonsense, hands-on leadership has brought comfort to a state that had lost confidence in its leaders."
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6. Paul Ryan, "The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea"
(August 2014) — 19,611
The Wisconsin congressman and 2012 vice presidential candidate outlines his political vision and shows how important conservatism is for the future of the nation. He begins with a careful analysis of the 2012 election and dissects the Republican party's challenges going forward.
7. Scott Walker, "Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a National Challenge"
(November 2013) — 18,633
The Wisconsin governor tells the story of his fight to save Wisconsin from a $3.6 billion budget deficit while improving the state's schools and public infrastructure. Columnist George Will wrote that "if enough voters read Walker's nonfiction thriller, it will make him a — perhaps the — leading candidate for his party’s 2016 presidential nomination."
8. Mike Huckabee, "God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy"
(Jan. 20, 2015) — 14,588
The former Arkansas governor describes a struggle between "Bubbaville," the American heartland, and "Bubbleville," the coastal regions that include New York, D.C., and Los Angeles, and focuses on the divisions of class, race, politics, religion, gender, age, and other fault lines in America today. Several of his earlier books have been bestsellers.
9. Jan Brewer, "Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media, and Cynical Politicos to Secure America's Border"
(November 2011) — 13,467
The governor of Arizona — a state on the front lines in the battle against illegal immigration — challenges President Obama to do his job and keep our border safe, and shows how real change can happen when local leaders take the initiative to preserve our country and our laws.
10. Rand Paul, "Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds"
(September 2012) — 10,518
The Kentucky senator offers a litany of outrageous abuses of government power by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, and makes a compelling case as to how Americans are gradually losing their freedoms.
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11. Jeb Bush, "Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution"
(March 2013) — 5,181
The former Florida governor lays out a new vision for immigration policy, including encouraging a demand-driven system and teaching civics to new immigrants. The Washington Times called it "a must-read for every citizen, wannabe citizen, legal working resident and those illegally working in the shadows of our economy."
12. Nikki Haley, "Can't Is Not an Option: My American Story"
(April 2012) — 4,795
South Carolina's first woman governor — and at 43 America's youngest current governor — shares her inspirational memoir of family, hope, and the power of the American Dream. "This book certainly portrays her as a fighter and as a politician with a long future ahead," OnTheIssues observed.
13. Marco Rubio, "American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone"
(Jan. 13, 2015) — 2,080
The Florida senator outlines his proposals for addressing equal opportunity, economic security, and inequality, and highlights "our country's central promise to its people: If you work hard and play by the rules, you'll find tremendous opportunities and an even better life for your children." Rubio's first book, "An American Son," was a New York Times bestseller.
If Mitt Romney had remained in the race, he would have placed second behind Carson for his March 2010 book "No Apology: The Case for American Greatness," which has sold 100,135 copies. The 2008 presidential candidate's book debuted atop the New York Times list of bestsellers.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hasn't yet written a book, but stay tuned.
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