Former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaOur remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Chelsea Manning tests positive for COVID-19 MORE quipped that it is “hopeless” to think his memoir, “A Promised Land,” would outsell his wife Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaWe must mount an all-country response to help our Afghan allies Obamas, Bushes and Clintons joining new effort to help Afghan refugees Bidens, former presidents mark 9/11 anniversary MORE’s 2018 book “Becoming,” even as his latest book is on track to become the all-time best-selling presidential memoir.
“I’ve already waved the white flag” in terms of the couple’s respective book sales, Obama told CBS’s Stephen ColbertStephen Tyrone ColbertFox News dominates prime-time ratings during Afghanistan crisis Colbert confirms he was disinvited from Obama's 60th Colbert: Trump era 'almost like a spell was being cast' on the American people MORE late Tuesday. “Any illusion that I might catch up, it turns out that now that my book is selling, they all package it with her book so she keeps on selling more, so I can’t … it’s hopeless.”
The former president’s new book sold 1.7 million copies its first week following its Nov. 17 release. It beat “Becoming” for first-day sales, with 887,000 compared to 750,000 copies of Michelle Obama's book sold on the first day it was available.
But the former first lady’s memoir has sold 10 million copies to date and remains so consistently popular it has yet to print in paperback.
The numbers for both books far exceed those of other presidential memoirs. George W. Bush’s “Decision Points” sold 775,000 copies in its first week of release in 2010, while Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonBusiness coalition aims to provide jobs to Afghan refugees Biden nominates ex-State Department official as Export-Import Bank leader Obamas, Bushes and Clintons joining new effort to help Afghan refugees MORE’s “My Life” sold more than 1 million in the first eight days it was on sale in 2004. Both have sold 3.5 million and 4 million, respectively, since.
Sales of political nonfiction have surged during the Trump administration, with executive director of business development at NPD BookScan Kristen McLean saying 2020 would almost certainly be the “biggest year for political books since we began tracking U.S. book sales in 2004.”