Obamas sign rumored $60-million book deal with Penguin Random House

Don’t say the Obamas haven’t been busy since they left the White House.

Bidding for the publishing rights to books from former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama has hit the $60-million mark, according to a report in the Financial Times.

On Tuesday evening, Penguin Random House announced that it had landed the deal. The world’s largest publisher did not note which of its imprints would release the books and didn’t disclose the amount of the deal.

Obama confirmed he was planning to write a book after leaving office in a CNN interview last year. At the time, a literary agent guessed it could be worth up to $30 million.

"His is going to be easily the most valuable presidential memoir ever," Raphael Sagalyn told the Times.

The former president and first lady are writing separate books but are selling the rights jointly. According to The Hill, four major publishers were embroiled in a bidding war for them. Contenders include Macmillan, Simon & Schuster — which recently dropped a book deal reportedly worth $250,000 for Milo Yiannopoulos — HarperCollins, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, and Penguin, which published Obama’s first three books. Simon & Schuster’s Threshold Editions imprint published Donald Trump’s most recent book, “Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America.”

Obama’s first book, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance,” was published in 1995 and re-released in 2004 to critical acclaim. “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream” was published in 2006 and was on the New York Times bestseller list for 30 weeks. He also published a children’s book, “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters,” in 2010.

Although the subjects of the Obamas books have not be officially announced, ABC News reports that Barack Obama’s will be a memoir of his presidency and that Michelle Obama will write a book designed to inspire young people, based on her life story.

As far as presidential book deals go, this one is by far the largest. Bill Clinton reportedly earned a $15-million advance for his post-White House memoir; George W. Bush’s garnered a reported $7 million.

 

jessica.roy@latimes.com

Follow me on Twitter @jessica_roy.


UPDATES:

5:25 p.m.: This post has been updated with information about the finalized book deal.

This post was originally published at 4:15 p.m.

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