It's generated endless headlines, and it's generated seemingly endless sales. Now, Michelle Obama's Becoming has achieved another honor: It may be the most successful memoir in history. Since its November 13 release, the book, which details her time in the White House alongside her husband, former president Barack Obama, and how they raised their daughters Malia and Sasha, has sold nearly 10 million copies.
Accordingly, the publisher, Penguin Random House, is declaring Becoming the best-selling memoir of all time. “We believe this could be the most successful memoir in history,” executive Thomas Rabe said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, Penguin’s chief executive, Markus Dohle, added, “I’m not aware, in my personal experience with Penguin Random House, that we ever sold 10 million units of a memoir.”
Although the official number of sales across the globe has yet to be divulged, Becoming was an immediate success. In just the first 15 days of its release, it managed to climb to the No. 1 spot in the United States, Germany, Greece, and the U.K., among other places, as The Washington Post noted. It sold more than 2 million copies during that time in the United States and Canada alone, according to the BBC. It went on to become the No. 1 selling book in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Greece as well.
But in the U.K., its impact may have been the most historic. There, Obama's Becoming managed to outsell any other book for the holidays and became the first book by an author of color to do so in the U.K. She also became the second woman to have the top Christmas book in the U.K., after J.K. Rowling in 2008 with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as Fortune pointed out. By comparison, George W. Bush's Decision Points and Bill Clinton's My Life were able to sell only 2 million copies after well over two weeks.
It didn't hurt, of course, that as the book was outselling any other memoir, Obama devoted her time to a newsworthy book tour, sharing anecdotes, making high-profile new friends, and serving plenty of fashion inspiration along the way. Now that Barack Obama's memoir is slated to arrive later this year via Penguin, the Obama family will be poised to demolish a whole new slew of records—which makes missing them in the White House a little less painful.
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