Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'Total Recall' Book Debuts to Soft Sales

Total Recall Schwarzenegger Book Cover - P 2012

Total Recall Schwarzenegger Book Cover - P 2012

Despite a massive publicity push, the action star's memoir failed to take off with the public.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s big push for his new memoir, Total Recall, which included appearances on 60 Minutes and The Daily Show on consecutive nights and a surprise pop-in visit to a New York City bookstore, appears not to have paid off. 

Nielsen Bookscan reports that the action star’s book, which debuted Oct. 1, sold 21,000 copies in its first week.

For comparison, No Easy Day, a Navy SEAL’s account of the death of Osama Bin Laden, which was the biggest nonfiction debut of the year, moved 254,000 copies its first week. 

In fiction, J.K. Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy sold about 350,000 copies in six days.

Hollywood-related memoirs have gotten off to a slow start this fall.

The biggest hit so far appears to be Neil Young’s Waging Heavy Peace, which clocked sales of 27,000 copies in its first two weeks.

Heavily hyped autobiographies by Penny Marshall (My Mother Is Nuts) and Andrew McCarthy (Longest Way Home) have moved just 6,000 and 4,000 copies, respectively, since arriving in September.

Sales of Marshall’s book, which netted her $850,000, have probably been hurt by tensions between Amazon, whose publishing arm issued the book, and bricks-and-mortar stores.

Many bookstores, including Hollywood’s famous Book Soup, have chosen to not stock it because they see Amazon as a competitive threat.

Nielsen Bookscan tracks about three-quarters of physical book sales in the U.S., but does not include e-books.  Currently e-books constitute about half of the sales of new titles, though the exact proportion varies by book.