Rep. Ilhan Omar’s book, “This Is What America Looks Like,” has not sold many copies or made much money.
In fact, it was recently included in a New York Times roundup of books that flopped despite their authors having millions of followers on social media. The congresswoman’s book has only sold 26,000 copies across all formats since its publication on May 28, 2020. According to the Times:
“[Omar] has a significant social-media presence, with 3 million Twitter followers and another 1.3 million on Instagram. Yet her book, ‘This Is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman,’ which was published in May 2020, has sold just 26,000 copies across print, audio and e-book formats, according to her publisher.”
26,000 may seem like a large number, but it pales in comparison to the numbers generated by other works from political celebrities. For example, Tucker Carlson’s “The Long Slide” sold about 30,000 copies in less than two weeks when it first came out in August 2021. Mark Levin’s “American Marxism” sold about 60,000 copies during that same summer.
26,000 copies apparently doesn’t make an author any money either. Watchdogs sounded the alarm earlier this year when nothing showed up on Omar’s financial disclosures for the $250,000 advance she reportedly inked for her book.
Failing to report income is a criminal offense for members of Congress. However, Omar is not likely to see the inside of a courtroom any time soon as her literary agent says she’s made $0 from her memoir, according to Forbes. Her work likely hasn’t made much money for her publisher either, as publishing houses operate on a relatively small profit margin, per the same outlet.
Meanwhile, used copies of the manuscript are selling for less than a gallon of gas in December 2021, while autographed copies can be had for only $30.
This all means Omar’s memoir failed financially despite broad promotion from the mainstream media. The Guardian called her work a “genuinely inspirational memoir.” The Bookseller called it “astonishing.”