From the creator of Captain Underpants, the children’s book Dog Man: Mothering Heights sold almost 55,000 more copies than Beautiful Things as the Hunter Biden memoir flopped during its first week in bookstores.
Despite glowing press coverage from CBS This Morning to Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the tome sold only 10,638 copies on the Publishers Weekly chart that was topped by the 10th volume in the Dog Man series.
In the non-fiction hardcover list category, Beautiful Things was ranked 12th, well below the top-selling The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country, that was read by Amanda Gorman at Joe Biden's inauguration. It sold 42,318 copies in the same week.
The autobiography of the president's troubled son contains salacious details of crack cocaine drug addiction, an affair with his dead brother's wife, fathering a child with a stripper.
"In the last five years alone, my two-decades-long marriage has dissolved, guns have been put in my face, and at one point I dropped clean off the grid, living in $59-a-night Super 8 motels off the I-95 while scaring my family even more than myself," he wrote.
CNN's Brian Stelter promoted it on Reliable Sources as “breathtaking” and “extraordinary”, while the publicity tour for the confessional saw interviews with Mr Biden on the BBC, ABC, and twice on CBS.
Asked in the interviews whether the notorious laptop reported by The New York Post during the election campaign, that showed a side not even revealed in his memoir, belong to him, Mr Biden said it likely could have.
"Of course certainly. It, it, there could be a laptop out there that was stolen from me. It could be that I was hacked. It could be that it was the – that it was Russian intelligence. It could be that it was stolen from me," he said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said that the administration was not involved in vetting the content that went into the 272-page tell-all, but that the president was “proud” about the personal story being told
“We were not [involved in vetting], it was a book he wrote himself, the president and first lady put out a statement, making clear, in February I should say when the book was announced,” she said.
“They’re ‘deeply supportive of their son sharing his account about his painful experiences with addiction’, which is exactly what the book does and they’re hopeful that it can help millions of people who have struggled with the same challenges.”
Despite all the news that flowed from Mr Biden's revelations, and the publicity tour around it, the book only sold 11,000 copies (rounding up).
That was still enough to place it on The New York Times' Best Sellers list at 4th in the “Hardcover Nonfiction” category, while it landed on Amazon at fifth in the nonfiction category in its first week.
Among comparable non-fiction books on the Publishers Weekly rankings, Mr Biden was beaten by Fox News host Shannon Beam, whose title The Women of the Bible Speak: The Wisdom of 16 Women and Their Lessons for Today, sold 32,686 copies.
That placed Ms Beam second behind the inauguration poem The Hill We Climb, from Ms Gorman, which sold a huge 256,985 copies this year. That’s still dwarfed by half-million sales of Dog Man: Mothering Heights in 2021.