The first volume of Barack Obama’s presidential memoirs will be published on Nov. 17, shortly after the presidential election and in time for the crucial holiday selling season.
A spokeswoman for Crown, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, said the initial print run of the first volume, “A Promised Land,” will be 3 million hardcover copies for the U.S., large by nonfiction standards.
The publisher said the coming book would provide “a stirring, deeply personal account of history in the making.” The book will be available in 25 languages. The hardcover edition is priced at $45, while the digital book is priced at $17.99.
“Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office,” Crown said.
One leading independent bookseller said the coming book would provide a much-needed sales boost. “We really need it because of all we’ve been through with the pandemic,” said Bradley Graham, co-owner of the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C. “Whether his sales will exceed his wife’s, who knows? We only hope we can get enough copies.”
Former first lady Michelle Obama’s memoir, “Becoming,” was published in November 2018 and has sold more than 8.1 million units in the U.S. and Canada across print, e-book and audio formats, and a total of more than 14 million units world-wide, according to Crown, its publisher.
Penguin Random House, which includes Crown, in early 2017 paid an estimated $60 million for world rights to books by the Obamas. Penguin Random House is owned by Bertelsmann SE.
Mr. Obama is also a highly successful author of two earlier bestselling books, “Dreams From My Father,” and “The Audacity of Hope.” Together the two titles have sold more than 7.5 million units across formats in the U.S. and Canada, according to the publisher.
Real Life. Real News. Real Voices
Help us tell more of the stories that matterBecome a founding member
Mr. Obama said that he was glad to have finished “A Promised Land,” adding that “I’ve tried to provide an honest accounting of my presidential campaign and my time in office: the key events and people who shaped it; my take on what I got right and the mistakes I made; and the political, economic, and cultural forces that my team and I had to confront then—and that as a nation we are grappling with still.”
Mr. Obama said that he also examines “how we can heal the divisions in our country going forward and make our democracy work for everybody—a task that won’t depend on any single president, but on all of us as engaged citizens.”
A second volume of Mr. Obama’s memoirs will follow at a later date.
Politics and Prose’s Mr. Graham, said that should Joe Biden—the Democtratic nominee and Mr. Obama’s vice president during both his terms in office—win the coming presidential election, there “will be a lot of enthusiasm for recalling the Obama years.” If Mr. Biden loses, said Mr. Graham, readers “will be looking for solace.”
Write to Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg at [email protected]
Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8
Appeared in the September 18, 2020, print edition as ‘Obama Memoir to Publish Mid-November.’
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe