'A Promised Land': Barack Obama on track for the best-selling presidential memoir

More than three million copies of the book have already been sold, just one month after it was first published

CAIRO, EGYPT - JUNE 4:  U.S. President Barack Obama makes his key Middle East speech at  Cairo University June 4, 2009 in Cairo, Egypt. In his speech, President Obama called for a "new beginning between the United States and Muslims", declaring that "this cycle of suspicion and discord must end".  (Photo by Getty Images)
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Just one month after hitting shelves, Barack Obama's A Promised Land is well on its way to becoming the best-selling presidential memoir in modern times.

Crown announced on Wednesday that sales have topped 3.3 million copies in the US and Canada, within range of Bill Clinton's My Life and George W Bush's Decision Points, both of which have sold between 3.5 million and 4 million copies.

Personal Memoirs of Ulysses Grant sold hundreds of thousands of copies when published in the 1880s and remains in print, but there are no precise records of its total sales.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama published by Crown. Courtesy Penguin Random House

A Promised Land, the first of two planned volumes, covers Obama's election in 2008 and much of his first term. No release date has been set for the second book. Previous works, written before he became president, include the million sellers Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope.

His new book covers some of the same time period as his previous ones, while continuing his story through the first two-and-a-half years of his presidency and the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden by the Navy Seals.

A Promised Land sold about 890,000 copies in the US and Canada in the first 24 hours of its release alone, marking a record for first-day sales for Penguin Random House.

By comparison, My Life sold about 400,000 copies in North America its first day and Decision Points about 220,000.

Obama still has to catch up to his wife, Michelle Obama, whose Becoming has sold more than 8 million copies in North America since coming out in 2018.

Michelle's memoir, in comparison, sold 725,000 copies in North America on its first day and has topped 10 million worldwide since its release in 2018. Becoming is still so in demand that Crown, which publishes both Obamas, and reportedly paid about $60 million for their books, has yet to release a paperback.

The fastest-selling book in memory remains JK Rowling's seventh and final Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which came out in 2007 and sold more than 8 million copies within 24 hours.


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