First Lady's memoir, Becoming, set to break genre's bestselling record

The Obamas may have departed from the White House, but the remnants of their impact remain across the country. Many still consider former First Lady Michelle Obama as their “forever first lady,” illustrating the positive influence and legacy she has left on the country. It is no surprise that her memoir Becoming is such an attractive read. Since its release in November 2018, publisher Penguin Random House stated that the book has sold more than 10 million copies. That number is steadily on the rise and is nearing the highest memoir sales of all time.

The chief executive of Penguin Random House, Markus Dohle, told The Wall Street Journal, “I’m not aware, in my personal experience with Penguin Random House, that we ever sold 10 million units of any memoir.”

Additionally, The Columbian reports that in 2018, Obama’s memoir was the fastest-selling book, with 725,000 copies sold within the first day and a remarkable 2 million copies sold just in North America through the first 15 days of its release. On Amazon, the book broke the record of most-sold book on the site from just pre-sales alone. The statistics for Becoming portray record
numbers.

Millions of readers have flocked to shelves and the sites of eBook and audiobook stores to have a chance at owning the former first lady’s memoir to read how her journey has shaped her to become the strength and encouragement she embodies today. The evidence of Becoming’s success is undoubtedly solidified within the impressive numbers, but the question some may wonder is why has this particular memoir been such a success?

Becoming encapsulates not only the beauty and the struggle that has been Obama’s life and career, but also how that road to success began with early hardships. Many citizens and world leaders alike admire the former first lady for the determination, poise and wit she has shown through trying times in her life.

Cherished by many globally, Obama is easily one of the world’s most influential public figures and role models. One of the main reasons for this sentiment is how relatable her upbringing was, showcasing the struggles of America’s working class.

Her story, marriage, fertility issues and the road to politics shine light on her faults and humanity, offering hope to men and women looking for their coming-up story in this competitive and overworked society.

Penguin Random House has signed a joint two-book deal with the couple for an estimated $60 million, according to The Washington Post. Bertelsmann SE Chief Executive Thomas Rabe confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that this deal is “the highest advance ever paid in the history of book publishing,” after which has followed an astonishing book tour with packed arenas, where some attendees have paid up to thousands of dollars in tickets to see Obama speak. A portion of proceeds are going toward charity.

In addition to this deal, the Obamas have just entered into a Netflix deal for an unreleased amount, Variety stated. With their newly founded company, Higher Ground Productions, the couple is set to produce various documentary series.

The book’s success has been overzealously joy-filled, but lingering criticism casts shadows over this positivity. Michelle and Barack Obama have signed high-grossing deals, but some are left to wonder whether this fame is driven by their passion for civil service and humble attitudes or by the soaring profits and star power that the two are bringing in after Barack's presidency.

ArtsKyrah BrownComment