The Economics Of The Obamas’ Book Deals

March 2, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Barack and Michelle Obama signed a $65 million deal with Penguin Random House for two books. Laura Miller ran down some numbers:

  • Bill Clinton’s (single) book post-Presidential deal was for $15 million, and George Bush got $10 million.
  • The publisher probably won’t breakeven on sales in the US alone. Once Europe is included – where more books are bought than in America, and where Obama’s Presidency was more popular – things should turn profitable.
  • Barack Obama might command a high price because he was a reasonably successful author even before he became President. His post-Presidential book might actually be good.
  • But it’s unlikely that many of the people buying the book will read it. Presidential auto-biographies are more symbols of political leanings to be prominently displayed on the bookshelf, than they are serious reading material.

Read more on Slate.