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Michelle Obama Visits The Tacoma Public Library

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Michelle Obama’s Memoir Is On It’s Way To 10 Million Sales

Our Forever FLOTUS’ book has become an absolutely insane success–but are we really surprised?

Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming has sold nearly 10 million copies globally since its release in November, Penguin Random House said on Tuesday. The publisher also added that Obama’s story could set a sales record in its genre.

“We believe this could be the most successful memoir in history,” said Thomas Rabe, chief executive of Bertelsmann SE, the German media and services conglomerate that has a controlling stake in Penguin Random House.

Book sales have been historically difficult to track for many reasons, including the proprietary nature of some data to the rise of digital channels, including sites like Amazon, for selling both e-books and audiobooks.

Industry tracker Nielsen said that it couldn’t confirm whether Becoming would break any sales records in part because it doesn’t track global book sales across markets. NPD Group likewise doesn’t track sales globally either, but said the memoir is already the second-highest-selling adult biography by printed copies sold in the U.S. since the organization began its BookScan tracking all the way back in 2004—trailing right behind the 10th anniversary edition of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love.

Michelle’s memoir is the first in a two-book deal struck by Penguin Random House with Mrs. Obama and her husband–former President Barack Obama–after they departed the White House in 2017. Markus Dohle, Penguin Random House’s chief executive, says that the publisher hops to release Obama’s presidential memoir sometime this year.

When asked if the company had broken even on the reported $60 million deal, Mr. Rabe said, “Michelle Obama’s [book] is not only a literary success but a financial success for everybody involved, despite the high advance.”

 

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