Barack and Michelle Obama have secured a record-setting book deal with Penguin Random House. According to Financial Times, the publishing house will pay at least $60 million for the global rights to two memoirs being written separately by the couple.
The book deal, which sets a new stunning record for U.S. presidential memoirs, comes after an auction that involved bidding between top publishers, including HarperCollins, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, CBS’ Simon & Schuster and Macmillan.
Although Michelle, 53, and Barack, 55, are writing the books separately, they are negotiating jointly to sell the rights to the books.
Penguin Random House declined to comment on the deal it reached with the Obamas, but people with knowledge of the details of the process of the auction revealed that the bidding between publishers for rights to the memoirs achieved record-breaking figures and that the Obama’s would make at least $60 million.
“We are absolutely thrilled to continue our publishing partnership with President and Mrs. Obama,” Markus Dohle, Penguin Random House CEO, said in a statement, according to the New York Times. “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.”
Penguin Random House published three previous bestsellers by Barack Obama, including Dreams From My Father (2004), The Audacity of Hope (2206), and Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters (2010).
The post-tax proceeds for Of Thee I Sing go to Fisher House Foundation, an organization that supports veterans’ families and provides scholarship funds for children of soldiers wounded or killed on duty.
Although the success of Obama’s previous publications boosted the value of the new deal, the additional excitement generated by the prospects of Michelle’s book was the primary factor that lifted the value of the joint deal to record-breaking levels.
While Obama is working on his fourth book for the joint deal, it is Michelle’s first. According to observers, the price for Michelle’s book will be the most ever paid for a literary debut.
The Audacity of Hope, Obama’s 2006 bestseller, has earned him $8.8 million in royalties over the past 11 years, while his 2004 book and first memoir, Dreams From My Father, has earned $6.8 million in royalties in the same period, according to Forbes.
Bill Clinton received $15 million for his 2004 memoirs My Life, published by Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House. George W. Bush reportedly received about $10 million for his book Decision Points, published by Crown.
Hillary Clinton reportedly received $14 million for her book, Hard Choices, published in 2014.
Donald Trump received only $500,000 for his 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, which he split with his ghostwriter.
The global record for earnings, including royalties, goes to J.K. Rowling, whose Harry Potter series is believed to have earned close to $2 billion, according to the Telegraph.
Obama’s literary agent, Robert Barnett, a top lawyer in Washington D.C., has represented several other politicians who secured multi-million dollar book deals. He helped former British prime minister Tony Blair secure a $5.5 million deal for his 2010 memoir, A Journey. He has also represented the Clintons.
He helped Sarah Palin secure a $1.2 million deal for her personal and political memoir, Going Rogue, in 2009.
News of the record-setting book deal by the Obamas comes after they returned from a vacation in Palm Springs, California. The also visited the British Virgin Islands where they spent two weeks on Necker Island, owned by the British billionaire Richard Branson, chairman of the Virgin Group.
Photos that surfaced online showed Obama kite-boarding with Branson.
The Inquisitr reported that crowds went wild with excitement when Obama was seen in public in New York City on Friday after he returned from vacation. Hundreds gathered to have a glimpse of the former president after he was spotted entering an office building in the Flatiron District of Manhattan on Friday morning.
Hundreds of excited New Yorkers cheered and waved hands as he left the office building and climbed into a black SUV.
Earlier on Thursday, Obama was spotted dining at Emilio’s Ballato, a swanky Italian restaurant in Soho.
Later on Friday evening, the father and daughter pair was seen attending a performance of Arthur Miller’s The Price, by The Roundabout Theater Company. After the show, Obama and Malia went backstage to meet with the cast, including Danny DeVito, Mark Ruffalo, Jessica Hecht, and Tony Shalhoub.
[Featured Image by Steve Helber/AP Images]