Cuomo Sold 1 Book for Every Dead New Yorker

Interesting economics there.

Kyle Smith had previously estimated Cuomo's payday relative to the number of books sold.

 He was paid, we learn from Vanity Fair, “at least low to mid seven figures.” Huh? Low seven figures is $1 million. Mid seven figures is $5 million. He was paid somewhere in the vicinity of $3 million for this book? Crown must have known they had no chance of breaking even on this deal. What gives? Even at robust sales of 46,000 copies, that means Cuomo was paid $65 for every copy sold. For reference, a real writer might expect to be paid perhaps $4 or $5 for every copy of a hardcover book he sells.

The latest New York Times piece tells us that the actual number was around $4 million.

Mr. Cuomo leaned on his top aide, Melissa DeRosa, for assistance. She attended video meetings with publishers, and helped him edit early drafts of the book. But there was also another, more pressing edit underway at the same time.

An impending Health Department report threatened to disclose a far higher number of nursing home deaths related to the coronavirus than the Cuomo administration had previously made public. Ms. DeRosa and other top aides expressed concern about the higher death toll, and, after their intervention, the number — which had appeared in the second sentence of the report — was removed from the final version.

At stake was not just the governor’s reputation, but also, potentially, a huge payoff: a book deal that ended with a high offer of more than $4 million, according to people with knowledge of the book’s bidding process...

Crown declined to comment on the sale price or confirm that it slightly exceeded $4 million, a large sum for an author whose previous memoir, “All Things Possible,” from 2014, sold fewer than 4,000 hardcover copies.

That means that Cuomo was paid more like $86 for every copy of his book that was sold.

The book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic,” was a dramatic retelling of the battle against the virus in a state where nearly 50,000 people have died. 

Considering that sales have been under 50,000 and so has New York's death toll, Cuomo sold about one book for every dead New Yorker.

“I have accomplished by any objective standard more than any governor in modern history," Cuomo supposedly wrote in a draft.

True. How many other governors can say that their book sales and death tolls match up?


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