Nov 19, 2020 - Economy

Obama's "A Promised Land" to become best selling presidential memoir

Picture of a pile of Barack Obama's newest book.

Photo: Charles Guerin/Abaca Press via Reuters

President Obama's "A Promised Land" (list price: $45) sold nearly 890,000 copies in the U.S. and Canada in its first 24 hours, putting it on track to be the best selling presidential memoir in modern history, AP's Hillel Italie writes.

Why it matters: Obama's book is the highlight of publishing's holiday season, and for some independent bookstores, the potential difference between remaining in business or closing.

The only book by a former White House resident to come close to the early pace of "A Promised Land" is the memoir by Obama's wife, Michelle Obama.

  • Her "Becoming" sold 725,000 copies in North America its first day and has topped 10 million worldwide since its release in 2018.
  • "Becoming" is still so in demand that Crown, which publishes both Obamas and reportedly paid around $60 million for their books, has yet to release a paperback.

Bill Clinton's "My Life" sold around 400,000 copies in North America its first day.

  • George W. Bush's "Decision Points" sold around 220,000, with sales for each memoir currently between 3.5 and 4 million copies.
  • The fastest-selling book in memory remains J.K. Rowling's seventh and final Harry Potter novel, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," which came out in 2007 and sold more than 8 million copies within 24 hours.
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