Biographies are big business. And in the case of the Obamas, biographies are recording-setting big business. Barack and Michelle have officially settled on a publisher and the price for the privilege of publishing their story may make your head spin.
The New York Times is reporting that the deal with Penguin Random House is netting the couple more than $60 million. Penguin is a logical choice, as the company published three of Obama’s other books.
The $60 million deal is far more impressive than Bill Clinton’s deal, which was $15million in 2004 for his memoir My Life.
Hillary Clintonis rumored to have made $14million for Hard Choices, which was published in 2014.
“We are absolutely thrilled to continue our publishing partnership with President and Mrs. Obama,” the chief executive of Penguin Random House, Markus Dohle, wrote in a statement.
“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.”
This $60 million deal is big, and possibly the biggest ever. James Patterson’s largest book deal was $150 million, but that was for a 17 book package deal. If the Obamas are splitting that $60 million, that would still beat out Patterson per-book rate. No word yet on how the money may be split, though Michelle’s book is rumored to have more reader interest.
Donald Trump’s book The Art of the Deal is estimated to have earned millions in royalties, but the advance was a paltry $500,000 (which he had to split with the book’s author).
This latest deal was brokered by Bob Barnett. Though he’s a top Washington DC lawyer, Barnett has a long running history as an agent. He specializes in famous politicians and has served an agent for Tony Blair, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin, too.
No word yet on what a new biography form either Trump or Hillary would fetch. The later is eagerly anticipated.