Former president Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama have signed with Penguin Random House, according to a press release. The news followed a bidding war that reportedly exceeded $60 million for publishing rights to both their books, according to the FT. The exact numbers of the deal was not disclosed.
The priciest presidential book deal before the Obamas was Bill Clinton’s 2004 memoir, which was bought for $15 million.
Who else was bidding: HarperCollins, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, Simon & Schuster, which is owned by CBS, and Macmillan.
Penguin Random House acquired world rights to the books, and worldwide sales could be substantial. The publisher plans to donate one million books in the Obama family’s name to First Book, a Penguin Random House nonprofit partner, and the Washington-based partner for the 2016 White House digital education initiative, Open eBooks. The Obamas also plan to donate a portion of their advances to charity, including the Obama Foundation.
“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,” the chief executive of Penguin Random House, Markus Dohle, said in a statement. “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.”
The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The Obamas were represented by Robert Barnett and Deneen Howell of Williams & Connolly.