The US doesn’t have enough printing capacity to meet demand for Obama’s new book

If you miss this president and reading long books, you’re in luck this fall.
If you miss this president and reading long books, you’re in luck this fall.
Image: REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng
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President Barack Obama’s new memoir A Promised Land is expected to sell so many copies that its publisher is printing one million of them in Germany and shipping them to the US.

The massive cargo, enough to fill 112 shipping containers, is part of Crown’s total order of 3 million copies for the book’s first US printing, according to a report by the New York Times. Crown, an imprint of Penguin Random House, is handling the US edition of the book, which is scheduled to be released on Nov. 17, after the US national election. (The book will also be issued in 25 languages around the world.)

A Promised Land’s first run is significantly higher compared to past presidential memoirs, which set records at the time of their publication.


US printers have been struggling to meet a spike in demand due to the fall release of several best-sellers, some of which are about the current president and his administration.

Obama’s memoir is pretty hefty at 768 pages, but other presidents have published even longer books. The extra length of Bill Clinton’s memoir did not deter readers: it sold more than 1 million copies in the first eight days after its publication and a total of 2.25 million.

A Promised Land will include a second volume, though. This multi-tome approach has been done before: Harry S. Truman published his memoirs in three volumes.