Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama are set to make at least $60 million for the rights to their books. A bidding war in the publishing industry among publishers Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster and Macmillan pushed the Obamas’ compensation to record-setting levels.
Penguin Random House won the bidding war.
The lofty price tag will shatter the record for presidential memoirs, the Financial Times reported.
The rights to books written by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush sold for $15 million and $10 million, respectively.
The Obamas are writing their books separately but selling the rights jointly, according to the report.
Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Penguin released a statement on the high-dollar deal:
“We are absolutely thrilled to continue our publishing partnership with President and Mrs. Obama. With their words and their leadership, they changed the world, and every day, with the books we publish at Penguin Random House, we strive to do the same. Now, 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 also said it will donate one million copies of the book to First Book, a nonprofit that provides education content to needy children. The press release said the Obama’s will donate a portion of the proceeds to charities, including the Obama Foundation.
Who will read the book? Can the publisher make a profit on this expensive deal?