Michelle Obama’s memoir “Becoming” has sold over 10 million copies

Michelle Obama.  – Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Penguin Random House announced on Tuesday that Michelle Obama’s memoir “Becoming” has sold over 10 million copies and is on track to becoming the best-selling memoir ever.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Penguin Random House said that the book has sold around 10 million copies globally across print, digital and audiobook.

Thomas Rabe, chief executive of the German media group Bertelsmann, which owns a 75% stake in publisher Penguin Random House, said: “We believe that these memoirs could well become the most successful memoir ever.”

Markus Dohle, Penguin Random House’s chief executive told the WSJ: “I’m not aware, in my personal experience with Penguin Random House, that we ever sold 10 million units of a memoir.”

“Becoming” was released in November and received more pre-orders than any other adult book since 2015. In the book, Michelle Obama talks about her experience in childhood, her time in the White House, her public health campaign, other work, as well as her role as a mother.

Michelle Obama’s memoir was also a success abroad – it became a number one seller in the UK and Germany. According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks book sales in the UK, “Becoming” has sold over 600,000 copies in the UK and is currently ranked 11th on its list of top 20 bestselling biographies and memoirs since sales records began in 1998. 

Penguin Random House paid the Obamas $60 million in 2017 for the rights to Michelle’s book alongside that of former US President Barack Obama – a record for US presidential memoirs. Former President Barack Obama’s memoir is expected to be released later this year.

The Obamas have said that a large portion of the profits from their book sales will be donated to charity.