Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama announced Tuesday that they have each inked book deals with Penguin Random House — after a bidding war that topped $65 million.
Barack Obama’s book will be a “straightforward memoir about his presidency,” according to the Associated Press. Michelle Obama “plans to write an inspirational work for young people that will draw upon her life story,” the AP said, citing anonymous sources within the publishing world.
“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,” Random House CEO Markus Dohle said in a statement.
While the exact terms of the deal haven’t been released, the Financial Times reported that the Obamas will be paid at least $65 million — which appears to be an unprecedented advance for presidential memoirs (although details were not available on how much each author will receive individually). The previous record was held by Bill Clinton, who received $15 million for writing My Life from Knopf, according to the Guardian. (Clinton’s book wound up selling more than 1.2 million copies, CNN reported.)
We still don’t know the timeline of the books’ release or their titles. Of course, Obama was an acclaimed author before his presidency, having published a memoir, Dreams From My Father, in 1995 as well as a 2006 campaign book, The Audacity of Hope. Michelle Obama has only published one book, American Grown, which was about food and gardening and the anti-obesity campaign she promoted as first lady. It was published in 2012.