EXCLUSIVE: Caitlyn Jenner’s memoir is already on the discount rack

EXCLUSIVE: Caitlyn Jenner’s memoir is already on the discount rack
Photo: Hachette Book Group
The Secrets of My Life, the much-hyped memoir by Caitlyn Jenner, has been seen everywhere since the start of May: the bestseller lists of The New York Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, TV shows from ABC to Fox News, and for sale at and bookstores like Barnes and Noble. But all is not what it appears.
ABC News
Copies are not exactly flying off the shelves, even after an intense book tour. In fact, if you want one, don’t worry; apparently there are plenty. At least one megastore has a much larger than anticipated quantity of Jenner’s book, all signed by the author, according to the publisher’s publicist. Adam, a clerk answering the phone at that Union Square store in New York City Monday, confirmed the store has a huge table full of memoirs, each autographed, and unsold at $24 apiece. That’s a $6 discount from the original list price. And savvy consumers who will forego a Jenner-signed copy can save even more online: $18 for new hardcovers at Barnes and Noble and at Amazon. That’s almost half the price the book sold for two weeks ago. Paperback, e-book and audiobook versions are selling for even less. But is it actually selling? Although publicist Jimmy Franco at Hachette Book Group told LGBTQ Nation “we are not able to release any sales figures,” a publishing industry insider revealed the publisher sold a grand total of 5,316 last week, for a total of 16,509 copies so far. Is that a lot? Overall, yes. But break down that total number, and we find the real story: 11,193 copies sold in week one, and less than half that number sold in its second week in print. That, insiders say, is a sign of trouble ahead for a bestseller. But it’s all relative. “There is no threshold of a certain number of copies a book must sell to be a bestseller, there never has been and I doubt there ever will be,” wrote Jerry D. Simmons, a former executive at Time Warner Book Group who blogged about bestsellers. So we did some more number-crunching. Even before bookstores started selling the memoir — co-written by Buzz Bissinger — pre-orders reportedly were dismal, and since publication, it’s been called “a commercial flop.” A check of the top bestseller lists echoes those reports, revealing that at the very least, the bloom is off the rose for Jenner’s tell-all.
Tracking the plunge The Times currently lists The Secrets of My Life at number 13, a tumble from where it debuted in the 8th position; 8th is where the memoir sits on the WSJ list. But USA Today is far less charitable: Jenner’s book plunged from its debut on May 4th at number 15 down to 90 this week, selling fewer copies than Ivanka Trump for her Women Who Work, and outperformed by the children’s classic Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. “To ensure a spot on The Wall Street Journal’s Bestseller list,” blogged author and motivational speaker Patrick Snow, you need to sell about 3,000 books in the first week and to hit gold and The New York Times Bestseller list, you’ll need 9,000 copies sold in the first week.” Keeping that goalpost in mind, Secrets had no trouble landing a spot on these well-followed lists. Staying there is the challenge. Amazon, according to Snow, typically requires a total of 500-1,000 sales per week to be recorded in its top 100. The memoir is already Amazon’s number one best-selling hardcover for sale — in the transgender category. It’s number 3 in LGBT hardcovers, and number 36 in hardcover biographies. That’s a huge improvement from its spot on the pre-order list, number 1,784. But when compared to all books sold by Amazon, Secrets has slipped from its debut spot as the 49th hottest selling book, to fall flat out of the top 100. That cannot be viewed as good. “We do not comment on sales but are delighted that the book made its debut on The New York Times Bestseller list,” Franco told LGBTQ Nation, “and will appear this Sunday, as well.” While there’s no denying its initial success as a bestselling memoir, three Hollywood and publishing industry insiders who spoke to LGBTQ Nation on condition of anonymity speculated that Americans simply have had enough of the transgender former Olympian, and the hype surrounding her transition. “They’re over it,” said one. “She’s had her 15 minutes and it’s done,” said another. Witness the abysmal ratings of Diane Sawyer’s prime time interview of Jenner on ABC’s 20/20 program last month. As with most sequels, it couldn’t compare to the original. Her slip is showing
ABC News 20/20
Their one-hour sitdown, which served as a blatant promotion for the memoir, earned ratings that were down 85 percent among adults aged 18 to 49 from the two-hour coming out interview in 2015, Deadline reported. Although Good Morning America and Fox News’s Tucker Carlson didn’t suffer serious ratings declines on account of their subsequent Jenner interviews, Sawyer’s double-digit ratings drop was eclipsed by an 11 percent decline in the key demographics that matter most to advertisers, from 20/20’s April 14 show — a program that didn’t receive a tenth as much promotion. And the distaste for all things Jenner doesn’t end with her book. E!’s Keeping Up With The Kardashians also is reportedly in decline, and significantly so, after jumping on the Caitlyn Jenner promotion bandwagon. Matriarch Kris Jenner branded her ex-husband as a liar in the season premiere episode, mainly for claiming Kris knew about her being trans all along. Although a network spokesperson did not respond to requests for a comment as of press time, Cosmopolitan and other sites report ratings are in free fall for the reality show created by Jenner and her ex-wife. Whereas the fashionista clan could be counted on for huge numbers with events like Kim Kardashian’s wedding — 10.5 million viewers — now KUWTK barely draws 1.5 million. Do these ratings portend the end of the much mocked series? After all, E! canceled I Am Cait after two seasons, on account of a serious ratings slide that followed an emphasis on her conservative politics, and there are reports this could be the Kardashians’ final season. But E! president Adam Stotsky, who compared the family to “the eighth wonder of the world,” told The Hollywood Reporter “as long as the family continues to be comfortable with us highlighting their antics, we’ll tell those stories.” Even Kim Kardashian’s enormous buttocks is losing fans, while simultaneously stealing attention from her famous father’s memoir. 
View this post on Instagram

Booty goals 🍑🔥

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West 🦋 (@kimsaprincess21) on

Tabloids seized upon photos of her surgically-augmented, generous rear end that had been posted without the Photoshop treatment, and the resulting cellulite controversy reportedly cost Kardashian 100K Instagram followers overnight.

Was it all a plot?

Daily Mail

Her stepsister Kylie Jenner was accused of electronically trimming her waistline the very same week.

The timing is why some speculated the Kardashians plotted the Photoshop controversies, to take the spotlight off their dad’s memoir, because of how much the book’s revelations upset their mother.

“My heart breaks for my mom and I just feel like it’s unfair,” Kim Kardashian recently told Ellen DeGeneres, accusing her father of saying “things [that] aren’t truthful. I feel like it’s taken her a really long time to be honest with herself, so I don’t expect her to be honest about my mom now,” she told DeGeneres. But c’mon… was there really a plot?

“Making herself look bad isn’t the way she’d go about it,” a source told InStyle magazine. “I can tell you that she’s not happy that what her butt really looks like is making headlines.” But another source saw a silver lining to those headlines.

“Kim made news all week, and that meant people were not talking about Caitlyn’s book,” says that source.

Whether it be her daughters, her publicity machine’s over-promotion, or a serious misjudgment by her PR team, Jenner’s book appears to have fallen short of impressing its intended target: the Oprah book club-types, too few of whom care to read about her surgery, how she secretly borrowed Kris’s clothes, or her claim that her now ex-wife knew all along that she’s trans.

What will Jenner do next after writing a bestselling memoir, and becoming the most well-known transgender American in the world?

“I would seriously look at a run” for political office, she told her friend and I Am Cait costar, Jennifer Finney Boylan last month.

If she does, that might even boost sales of her book.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated with new data on sales for The Secrets of My Life.

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

Honey, It’s here! 5 minutes of musical comedy gold to promote Will & Grace

Previous article

Man who killed trans woman with hammer sentenced to 49 years for hate crime

Next article