Kamala Harris' Financials Confirm What You Thought About Her Books

It seems like only earlier that week [it was only earlier this week, Steve —editor] that we bemoaned together the widely known but little-mentioned open secret about political memoirs: hardly anybody buys them, even fewer people read them, and yet somehow they end up on the bestseller lists.

Alleged Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris is no different. According to her 2023 financial disclosures, Harris’s 2019 memoir, “The Truths We Hold,” earned just $234.13 in royalties last year. It isn’t a new book, of course, but judging by the rapid decline of Harris’ royalties, the book had a shelf life shorter than the appeal of its purported author’s laugh.

The financial disclosure didn’t make clear whether those royalties included sales of the “young readers” edition, which possibly counts as child abuse. 

Harris also earned a niftier $8,254 in royalties for her 2019 children’s book, “Superheroes Are Everywhere.” I’m quite curious to know who bought enough copies of “Superheroes Are Everywhere” to net Harris a high four-figure royalty check. If the buyers were almost anything but lefty-dominated school districts, I’d require a fainting couch and a stiff drink. Or at least just the drink.

What I’d like to know is whether the actual authors of Harris’ books earned anything aside from a small, one-time fee. The famous person with their name and photo on the cover “acquire tons of money, a reputational boost, and sometimes, the prestige of being on the New York Times best-selling author list,” Jordan Schachtel wrote last week. “All for maybe doing a handful of phone calls with the real author, who usually receives a low-end five-figure amount (think 10 to 20 grand) for six months of hard work.”

Not that the medium-term royalties added up to much, even for someone with Harris’s fame and proximity to power.

Also revealed in the Veep’s annual disclosure was a nice little gift from ESPN. The once-mighty sports network gifted Harris $1,890 worth of tickets to the December 2023 Cricket Celebration Bowl game in Atlanta. Harris returned the favor, appearing in the broadcast booth to talk about her years as a student at Howard University.

While we’re talking about disclosures, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a couple of items from the First Couple’s annual report.

None of Joe Biden’s various books showed any royalty income last year. However, DOCTOR Jill Biden’s children’s book about her husband’s childhood did. Her illustrated “Joey: The Story of Joe Biden,” was published in 2020 and shouts “BY NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR JILL BIDEN” on the cover in letters the same size as “The Story of Joe Biden.”

The report isn’t exact and lists “Joey’s” 2023 royalties somewhere in the range of $2,501-$5,000. Again, I’d bet next month’s mortgage payment that it was largely — if not entirely — public school libraries making those purchases. 

What I found most interesting about Biden’s financial disclosures was how little there was to report for a man of his enviable (if not somewhat mysterious) net worth.

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