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Barack Obama memoir off to record-setting start in sales

Former President Barack Obama's new memoir, "A Promised

Former President Barack Obama's new memoir, "A Promised Land," sold nearly 900,000 copies on Tuesday. Credit: AP / Jeff Chiu

Former President Barack Obama's "A Promised Land" sold nearly 890,000 copies in the United States and Canada in its first 24 hours, putting it on track to be the best selling presidential memoir in modern history.

The first-day sales, a record for Penguin Random House, include preorders, e-books and audio.

"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."

The only book by a former White House resident to come close to the early pace of "A Promised Land" is the memoir by Obama's wife, Michelle Obama, whose "Becoming" sold 725,000 copies in North America its first day and has topped 10 million worldwide since its release in 2018. "Becoming" is still so in demand that Crown, which publishes both Obamas and reportedly paid around $60 million for their books, has yet to release a paperback.

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.

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