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YES SHE CAN

Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” dominated the year in books

Michelle Obama signing a book
Reuters/Kamil Krzaczynski
Michelle Obama had the bestselling book of the year.
By Dan Kopf, Daniel Wolfe
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

In early November, it looked like books about Donald Trump’s presidency—including Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury and Bob Woodward’s Fear—would define 2018. Michelle Obama wasn’t having it.

On Nov. 13, Obama released her memoir, Becoming, and it is already the bestselling book of the year. According to Publishers Weekly, Becoming sold nearly 700,000 copies in its first week after publication, and almost 1.5 million in its first three weeks. These numbers are conservative, as Publishers Weekly only claims to cover about 85% of the print book market. Becoming is also the bestseller of 2018 on Amazon, which includes both print and digital sales through the site.

The chart below shows the number of print books sold for the top seller every week in 2018 through Dec. 10. Becoming towers over every other major hit of the year.

If any other book could possibly claim to be the book of 2018, it would be Rachel Hollis’s self-help phenomenon Girl, Wash Your Face. Unlike Becoming, it was not an immediate hit. Released in February, Girl, Wash Your Face took more than a month to hit Publishers Weekly‘s bestseller list. But since it joined the top 10, the book has barely slowed down, selling more than 30,000 copies each week since mid-August. It has now sold over 1 million copies and is number two on Amazon.

Fear, fire, and fury be damned. Two women writing about their lives, and hoping others would learn from them, were the books of the year.

📬 A periodic dispatch from the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in NYC.

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