Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's memoir is riding high, topping the New York Times best-seller list in its first week of sales.
My Beloved World, Sotomayor's account of her path from the tenements of the Bronx to the U.S. Supreme Court, is on track to outdistance even the best-selling books of other justices.
In its first week, 38,000 hardback volumes were sold, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks 85 percent of the U.S. print book market, excluding e-books. According to Nielsen, Sotomayor's memoir sold 9,000 more books in the first week than Justice Clarence Thomas' 2007 memoir sold. Thomas' memoir, My Grandfather's Son, also premiered at No. 1 on the best-seller list and ultimately sold 187,000 hardcover volumes.
Sotomayor's book sales may also surpass those of former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's memoir, Lazy B. O'Connor's hardcover book sales over the past 10 years have totaled 53,000, but the book has sold an additional 36,000 in paperback, more than twice the number of Thomas' paperback sales. Sotomayor's memoir will come out in paperback in September.
Justice John Paul Stevens' memoir, Five Chiefs, published in 2011, is far less personally revealing than the other three justices' memoirs, since it focuses in large part on his years as a lawyer, lower court judge and — without kissing and telling — his work as a Supreme Court justice. It sold 16,000 hardback books and 2,000 paperback.
Other modern-day Supreme Court justices have written books too, but they are even less personal. Instead they are based on history or legal argument. Still, all have done relatively well.
Justice Stephen Breyer's most recent book, Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge's View, sold 29,000 hardback books and 7,000 paperback. Justice Antonin Scalia's book Making your Case, written with Bryan Garner, sold 59,000 volumes. And Scalia's 2012 book, Reading Law: the Interpretation of Legal Texts, also written with Garner, sold 11,000 books.