Penguin Random House announced on Tuesday that former President Obama’s memoir “A Promised Land” had sold more than 1.7 million copies in its first week.
According to a press release from Penguin, Obama’s memoir sold 887,000 in all formats in the U.S. and Canada on its first day making it the best selling book in the publisher’s history. It also had the highest first-week sales of any of Penguin Random House’s publications.
“A Promised Land” was released globally on Nov. 17 by Crown Publishing, a subsidiary of Penguin Random House. It was published in 20 languages with six more languages to come. It is currently the number one bestselling book in the U.K.
Obama's memoir beat the first day sales of Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson Obama'Car guy' Biden puts his spin on the presidency Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Son gives emotional tribute to Colin Powell at service MORE's memoir "Becoming," which sold 750,000 on its first day. Without releasing a paperback edition, "Becoming" has since sold over 10 million copies.
Former president Clinton's book "My Life" and former president George W. Bush's book "Decision Points" sold around 400,000 and 220,000 respectively on their first days when published.
The demand for political books has risen, especially those having to do with the Trump administration. In October, the Wall Street Journal predicted that demand would surge around the election.
Executive director of business development at NPD BookScan Kristen McLean said 2020 was likely to be the “biggest year for political books since we began tracking U.S. book sales in 2004.”
NPD noted that the numbers were all the more impressive when taking into account how badly book stores have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Obama's book may give these businesses a sorely needed boost as Amazon continues to command the majority of the book market during the pandemic.
"It’s not hard to be a bright spot this year, a year when we would have gone out of business without federal aid," Sarah McNally, owner of McNally Jackson Books told the Associated Press. "But Obama does feel like a savior, as do our customers for buying this from us.”
President Obama wrote in an introduction in August that he had not planned for the book to be released so close to the presidential election and acknowledged the outcome of the election could have greatly affected the reception of his book.