Barack vs Michelle Obama: Did presidential memoir 'A Promised Land' beat Becoming's sales record?
Obama's book has set a new record for Penguin Random House, including pre-orders, e-books and audio, and is on it's way to becoming the best-selling presidential memoir in modern history
Former President Barack Obama might have taken longer to complete his promised memoir, but now that it is out, it is selling like hot cakes in the United States and Canada, giving his wife's bestselling 2018 memoir, 'Becoming' a stiff competition.
But will Obama's 768-page memoir be able to beat former first lady Michelle Obama's historic record-shattering book sales? Her total book sales, including hardcover, audio and e-books editions, was around 725,000 copies in the United States and Canada during its first day, making it the second best-selling debut for any book in 2018. On that front, her husband has already beaten her as 'A Promised Land' sold nearly 890,000 copies in the US and Canada in its first 24 hours of it being put on shelves on November 17. It set a new record for Penguin Random House, including pre-orders, e-books, and audio, and is on it's way to becoming the best-selling presidential memoir in modern history.
“We are thrilled with the first day sales,” said David Drake, publisher of the Penguin Random House imprint Crown. “They reflect the widespread excitement that readers have for President Obama's highly anticipated and extraordinarily written book.”
However, it still needs to be seen if the demand for 'A Promised Land' holds as well as 'Becoming' has been able to do. Michelle's book is still so in demand that Crown, which is also the publisher for the ex-FLOTUS' memoir, reportedly paid around $60 million for their books and is yet to release a paperback. 'A Promised Land' was No 1 on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com as of Wednesday, November 18. James Daunt, CEO of Barnes & Noble, said that they had easily sold more than 50,000 copies its first day and hoped to reach half a million within 10 days. “So far it has been neck and neck with Michelle Obama's book,” he said.
Obama has already written two highly-acclaimed, million-selling works, 'Dreams from My Father' and 'The Audacity of Hope', which came out in 2006. His new book covers some of the time periods already mentioned in his previous ones as well as continues his story through the first two and a half years of his first term in the office which included the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden by the Navy SEALS.
The former POTUS has acknowledged that he took longer than he had anticipated in finishing his latest book and Michelle had joked in multiple interviews about Obama deliberately procrastinating when it comes to submitting the final draft. The book eventually got split into two volumes and although Obama admitted that he didn't intend for the book to arrive so close to a presidential election or to take nearly four years since leaving the White House to complete it since “the book kept growing in length and scope”. He also added that he “didn't fully anticipate," the working condition he will be writing the book in which spanned from a pandemic to the Black Lives Matters protests, to “most troubling of all,” how the nation's “democracy seems to be teetering on the brink of crisis.”
The book has got moderately positive reviews so far. The Washington Post's Carlos Lozada noted that in “domestic policy and foreign affairs, in debates over culture and race, Obama splits differences, clings to the middle ground and trusts in process as much as principle." “It turns out he is not a ‘revolutionary soul’ but a reformist one, ‘conservative in temperament if not in vision.’ Behind those dreams, the audacity and all that promise is a stubborn streak of moderation," Lozada wrote.