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International - March 1, 2017

$60m deal: Obamas strike gold in publishing

Barack Obama and wife, Michelle

Immediate past first family of the US, Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle have landed more than $60 million in a publishing deal.

Penguin Random House, a publishing outfit said Tuesday, it will publish two forthcoming memoirs by the former U.S. President Barack Obama and the former first lady, Michelle Obama, with one volume to be written by each.

Financial Times reported that, terms of the agreement, in which Penguin Random House acquired worldwide publication rights for the two books, were not disclosed, but said the Obamas may have set a record deal in excess of $60 million.

But in keeping with their past practice, the Obamas plan to donate a “significant portion of their author proceeds to charity,” including the Obama Foundation, the publisher said in a statement.

The deal followed a heated auction for global rights to the two books with bidding that reached more than $60 million, a record sum for U.S. presidential memoirs, the Financial Times reported, citing people with knowledge of the sales process.

By comparison, fellow Democrat and former President Bill Clinton earned $15 million for rights to his 2004 memoir “My Life” after he left office, while Obama’s immediate predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, reaped some $10 million from his book “Decision Points,” according to the Financial Times. Those books were published by Penguin Random House division Knopf and by Crown, respectively.

Penguin Random House also published Obama’s three previous books – “Dreams of My Father,” “The Audacity of Hope,” “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters.” (Financial Times)


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