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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.

Go deeper

Nov 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Obama's memoir sells over 887,000 copies on first day of release

Former President Barack Obama's memoir "A Promised Land" goes on sale ahead of the holiday season at Barnes & Noble Union Square on Tuesday in New York City. Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama's memoir "A Promised Land" sold more than 887,000 copies, including preorders, across all formats in the U.S. and Canada on its Tuesday release date, publisher Penguin Random House announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: The memoir has sold more copies on its first day of sale than any other book published by Penguin Random House. It looks set to be the best-selling presidential memoir in modern history.

1 hour ago - Health

Pfizer-BioNTech: Booster doses more effective at blocking Omicron

Prepared doses of the BioNtech-Pfizer Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Germany on Dec. 7. Photo: Thomas Kienzle/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday that two doses of their COVID-19 vaccine were significantly less effective at neutralizing the Omicron variant in early lab tests, but a three-dose regimen was more effective.

Why it matters: Omicron, which has been labeled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization after being identified by scientists in South Africa last month, has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines against this specific new form of coronavirus.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden unveils "Building a Better America" branding

President Biden speaks on infrastructure while visiting a bridge in Woodstock, N.H., last month. Photo: John Tully/Getty Images

President Biden today launched a new website and unveiled bold new branding as part of a nationwide tour to sell the benefits of his infrastructure package.

Why it matters: The White House says passage of the new law shows the ability to "forge bipartisan consensus and prove our democracy can deliver big wins" even in these toxic times.