In its first 24 hours Barack Obama’s new book A Promised Land has sold nearly 890,000 copies.
“We are thrilled with the first day sales,” said David Drake, publisher of the Penguin Random House imprint Crown. “They reflect the widespread excitement that readers have for President Obama’s highly anticipated and extraordinarily written book.”
As of midday Wednesday, A Promised Land was No 1 on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. James Daunt, CEO of Barnes & Noble, said that the superstore chain easily sold more than 50,000 copies its first day and hoped to reach half a million within 10 days.
Obama’s 768-page memoir was released just two weeks after election day and has already made headlines for its account of the former president’s time in the White House, key moments in his presidency – such as the fight over the Affordable Care Act and the killing of Osama bin Laden – and his reflections on the rise of Trump.
Obama himself acknowledges that he didn’t intend for the book, the first of two planned volumes, to arrive so close to a presidential election or to take nearly four years after he left the White House.
In the introduction, dated August 2020, Obama writes that “the book kept growing in length and scope” as he found more words were needed. He was also working under conditions he “didn’t fully anticipate”, from the pandemic to the Black Lives Matters protests, to, “most troubling of all”, how the country’s “democracy seems to be teetering on the brink of crisis”.
Obama has already written two acclaimed, million-selling works, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope.