Three and a half years after signing a joint book deal with his wife shortly after leaving office, Barack Obama’s account of his time in the White House is hitting bookshelves across the globe on Tuesday. “A Promised Land” is almost certainly the most anticipated book of the year and perhaps of the past decade. The book will be available in 19 languages at launch and its publisher Penguin Random House is expecting to sell as many copies as it can possibly print amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to publisher information shared by the New York Times, Michelle Obama’s “Becoming”, published two years ago, has sold more than 14 million copies worldwide, setting the benchmark for what is already all but certain to become a global megaseller. Mr. Obama’s previous two books “Dreams From My Father”, originally from 1995, and his 2006 political manifest “The Audacity of Hope” sold 3.3 million and 4.3 million copies, respectively, indicating what may have convinced Penguin Random House to offer the Obamas one of the largest book deals in history.
As the following chart shows, the $65 million deal the former first couple signed in 2017 stands as the largest publicly known non-fiction book deal by quite a distance. Bill Clinton’s $15 million advance for “My Life” is the second largest known deal while Hillary Clinton rounds off the top 3 with the $14 million she netted for “Hard Choices”.