Greenspan Expected to Get Over $8.5 Million for His Memoir

Yes, it’ll sell. But will it sell that much?

Assuming a cover price of about $30, the publisher would have to sell nearly 600,000 copies of the book to recover just the cost of the advance, and Mr. Greenspan would not receive any additional royalties until it sells nearly 1.9 million copies.

Penguin bought the world rights to the book, meaning that it could recoup some of its costs by selling the right to publish translated editions of the book in foreign countries.

Mr. Greenspan’s advance ranks second only to the more than $10 million paid to former President Bill Clinton for his memoir, “My Life,” which was published in June 2004. Pope John Paul II received an advance of $8.5 million in 1994 for his book, “Crossing the Threshold of Hope,” and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton received an $8 million advance for her memoir, “Living History,” published in 2003.

Mr. Greenspan, in the 10-page proposal for the book that was circulated among publishing houses interested in bidding on it, said that he would write about the presidents he worked with, the relevance, or lack thereof, of his testimony before Congress, as well as others at all levels of government.

“I do not intend to dwell on personality aberrations, except as they affect policy decision-making — which, of course, always involves personalities,” he wrote […] “I will also describe what it’s like to be a prop at a Congressional hearing, which is too often the role of witnesses.”