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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.

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden told CNN on Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.

The big picture: Biden also stated he has asked NIAID director Anthony Fauci to stay on in his current role, serve as a chief medical adviser and be part of his COVID-19 response team when he takes office early next year.

What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speed, but some experts fear the accelerated regulatory process could interfere with ongoing research about the vaccines.

Why it matters: Even after the first COVID-19 vaccines are deployed, scientific questions will remain about how they are working and how to improve them.