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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.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."