According to USA Today, Barack and Michelle Obama just inked the largest book deals for an outgoing president and first lady ever. Publishers went to auction and bidding topped $60 million because they were getting two Obamas, not just one.
Penguin Random House, which has published previous books by the Obamas, placed the winning bid. The exact financial terms were not disclosed but the publisher’s CEO Markus Dohle is excited for what’s to come:
“We are absolutely thrilled to continue our publishing partnership with President and Mrs Obama. With their words and their leadership, they changed the world, and every day, with the books we publish at Penguin Random House, we strive to do the same. Now, we are very much looking forward to working together with President and Mrs. Obama to make each of their books global publishing events of unprecedented scope and significance.”
According to The Huffington Post, “the Obamas were represented in negotiations by Robert Barnett and Deneen Howell of Williams & Connolly.” Barnett also negotiated on behalf of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and their first ladies. Until the Obama book deal, Clinton held the record for his post-presidency book My Life, receiving an advance of $15 million. Bush was paid $7 million for the first 1.5 million copies of Decision Points, according to Wikipedia.
Penguin Random House gave few details about the books but said the Obamas will focus on their time in the White House.
“A publishing official with knowledge of the negotiations said that Obama’s book will be a straightforward memoir about his presidency, while the first lady plans to write an inspirational work for young people that will draw upon her life story,” HuffPo added.
Insiders say a portion of the book sales will go to charities, including the Obama Foundation.