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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.

10 mins ago - World

Report: LGBTQ+ Afghans' lives "dramatically worsened" under Taliban rule

Taliban fighters in Kabul, Afghanistan, earlier this month. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

LGBTQ+ Afghans have been threatened, attacked and "faced an increasingly desperate situation and grave threats to their safety" since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last August, per a report published Wednesday.

What they're saying: "We spoke with LGBT Afghans who have survived gang rape, mob attacks, or have been hunted by their own family members who joined the Taliban, and they have no hope that state institutions will protect them," per a statement from study co-author J. Lester Feder.

2 hours ago - World

Canadian Indigenous group finds 93 suspected unmarked graves

A makeshift memorial honoring the 215 children whose remains were found in a mass grave in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, last May. Photo: Cole Burston/AFP via Getty Images

Indigenous leaders in Canada's western province of British Columbia said Tuesday they believe they've found 93 unmarked graves near a former boarding school.

The big picture: Hundreds of mass graves have been found at the grounds of former residential schools for Indigenous children since last May, when the remains of 215 children were uncovered at one such site in B.C.