Obama’s ‘Promised Land’ sells record 1.7 million copies in first week, is fastest selling presidential memoir

“A Promised Land,” by Barack Obama. Crown

Former President Barack Obama’s “A Promised Land” sold more than 1.7 million copies in North America in its first week, roughly equal to the combined first week sales of memoirs by his two immediate predecessors and among the highest ever for a nonfiction book.

Crown announced Tuesday that it had increased its initial print run from 3.4 million copies to 4.3 million. Sales also include audio and digital books.

“A Promised Land” charts Obama’s path to the White House up to 2011 and the killing of Osama bin Laden. In it, the 59-year-old former president reflects on his legacy, and the space between his presidential ambitions and the political reality of a Republican-controlled House and Senate that hampered them.

The book, which is the first of two planned volumes, was published Nov. 17 and sold nearly 890,000 copies just in its first day. Among former White House residents, only Obama’s wife Michelle approaches his popularity as a writer. Her “Becoming,” published in 2018, has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and is currently in the top 20 on Amazon.com.

Obama also authored the memoirs “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream” (2006) and “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” (1995), as well as the 2010 children’s book, “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters.”

George W. Bush’s “Decision Points” sold 775,000 copies its first week and Bill Clinton’s “My Life” topped 1 million in eight days. The two presidential memoirs have now each sold between 3.5 and 4 million copies, totals that Obama’s book should easily surpass.

No nonfiction comes close to the pace set by J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which in 2007 sold more than 8 million copies in its first 24 hours.

SOURCE: Associated Press – Hillel Italie

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