Penguin Random House has won in a bidding war for a pair of books by Barack and Michelle Obama.The books are likely to be released in 2018, but there are no official publication dates yet. The publishing house announced the book deal last Tuesday night. CEO Markus Dohle said it would work with the former first couple to “make each of their books global publishing events of unprecedented scope and significance.”
The Financial Times reported that auction between several prominent book publishers had surpassed the $60 million mark. It is speculative as to how much Penguin Random House ultimately paid for the two books. The parties involved declined to comment on the terms of the deal. But the FT said it amounted to “a record sum for US presidential memoirs.”
According to the publishers announcement, the Obamas “plan to donate a significant portion of their author proceeds to charity, including the Obama Foundation.”
Additionally, Penguin Random House will donate one million books “in the Obama family’s name.The couple’s books will be published separately, but publishing houses vied for the rights to the books together. Their Lawyer and literary agent Bob Barnett, represented the couple in the joint book deal.
Former President Obama’s past books were published by Penguin Random House, so the new deal continues a two-decade-long relationship.
Books by the Obamas are virtually guaranteed to be best-sellers, selling millions of copies and generating weeks of media attention.Book industry bidding wars get competitive for other reasons as well. The opportunity to be in business with a famous figure like a former president is a factor.
George W. Bush reportedly received about $10 million for the rights to to his memoir from Crown publishing company.