Penguin Random House Wins Bidding War for Obamas’ Memoir RightsBy
Publisher to pay reported record $65 million for two books
Extends relationship going back to Obama’s time as senator
Penguin Random House will publish separate books from Barack and Michelle Obama, agreeing to pay a reported $65 million in what would be a record for U.S. presidential memoirs.
“We are absolutely thrilled to continue our publishing partnership with President and Mrs. Obama,” Penguin Random House Chief Executive Officer Markus Dohle said in a statement. He vowed “to make each of their books global publishing events of unprecedented scope and significance."
The deal extends a relationship with Random House that stretches back to when the two-term president was still an Illinois senator. The best-selling campaign manifesto “The Audacity of Hope” helped propel the Hawaiian-born Obama to the White House. The former president remains popular, having left office in January with a 59 percent approval rating, according to Gallup.
The publication of “Of Thee I Sing” completed a three-book, $1.9 million deal that also included the 55-year-old ex-president’s best-seller “Dreams from My Father.” Michelle Obama, 53, has written “Michelle Obama in Her Own Words,” and a book about her White House garden, “American Grown.”
Penguin Random House declined to say how much it paid for the rights. The publisher paid $65 million to beat out CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., in a bidding war for the Obama books, the Financial Times reported earlier. That surpassed the record $15 million paid to former President Bill Clinton for “My Life,” the newspaper said.
— With assistance by Paul Barbagallo