A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but the Obamas' words are worth millions.
Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama will each publish a book with Penguin Random House, the publisher announced Tuesday. The combined advance could surpass what previous first families made.
"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," Markus Dohle, the publisher's chief executive, said in a statement. "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."
A bidding war over the rights for the two books reportedly took place on Tuesday, with the proposed sum surpassing $60 million, according to a report from the Financial Times. The Obamas are each writing their own book, but sold the rights as a joint deal. Details of the agreement and a release date were not announced, but publishing industry experts told The New York Times the offer "probably stretched well into eight figures."
If Barack and Michelle get over $60 million for their books, or even a quarter of that sum, they'll receive more than what previous presidents and first ladies got. George W. Bush got a $10 million advance for his 2010 book Decision Points, and Bill Clinton received $15 million for My Life in 2004. Hillary Clinton was awarded an $8 million advance for her memoir, Living History, in 2000, and another $14 million for Hard Choices.
It's no question that the former president doesn't need help navigating successful literary deals. Since arriving in Washington in 2005, he's made $15.6 million as an author ($6.8 million for Dreams From My Father and $8.8 million from Audacity of Hope and Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters), according to an estimate from Forbes.