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Barack Obama’s first-week book sales break Penguin Random House’s record

A Promised Land has the largest first-week sales ever for the publisher, selling 1.7 million copies.

Barack Obama Vincent Thian/AP

Barack Obama’s book is breaking records. The former president’s memoir A Promise Land became an instant success for its publisher, by breaking not one, but two sales records in the first week of its release. Obama now holds the record for the largest first-week sales ever in the history of Penguin Random House, after the book sold more than 1.7 million copies in the first week of its release.

The publisher also announced that Obama broke the publishing house’s previous first-day sales record, selling 887,000 copies in the first day. “Barack Obama’s A PROMISED LAND has sold 1,710,443 units in all formats and editions in the U.S. and Canada during its first week of publication,” the publisher said in a press release. “A PROMISED LAND sold more than 887,000 units in all formats and editions in the U.S. and Canada on the first day of its publication, the largest first-day sales total for any book ever published by Penguin Random House. A PROMISED LAND’s week-one sales also hold the distinction of being the largest week-one sales total for any book ever published by Penguin Random House.”

The book was released on Nov. 17, by Crown, which is a division of Penguin Random House. Due to the high demand, the publishing house has increased the printing of the book. The hardcover U.S. edition of the memoir now also has 4.3 million copies in print in the U.S. and Canada, following an initial printing of 3.4 million copies. It was released worldwide in 20 languages, and six additional languages are to come.

The former president’s numbers are impressive. George W. Bush’s Decision Points reportedly sold 775,000 copies in its first week, while Bill Clinton’s My Life sold about a million in its first week. Obama’s other competitor is his wife, Michelle Obama, who’s own memoir Becoming has sold more than 10 million worldwide.

He recently opened up about feeling “hopeless” about measuring up to his wife’s success on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” saying that he has “already waved the white flag.” In reality, A Promised Land seems to be winning in the first reported figures. According to the reported first-day sales, the book sold about 165,000 copies more than Becoming.

A Promised Land is the first book out of a two-book series, in which Obama details his experience and his journey to becoming the president of the United States. A date for the second book’s release has not been revealed yet.

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