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Why This Is Heartening News About Barack Obama’s Super-Brisk Book Sales

November 20, 2020

During this most turbulent time in the nation when it seems there is no good news about either the public health or the economy comes a story about the sales of a single book. Some readers will just think my pleasure over this story is due to a partisan angle but, that would be wrong. My sincere delight in this story is due to the ability of something other than bad news making headlines, and the fact these sales will aid bookstores nationwide.

Former President Barack Obama’s A Promised Land sold nearly 890,000 copies in the U.S. and Canada in its first 24 hours, putting it on track to be the best-selling presidential memoir in modern history. That is remarkable news. At a time when too few people read books, and this one is the polar opposite of the ‘Nora Roberts type’ (though I encourage reading regardless of what it might be) means there is reason to applaud this news be it from a book publishing, economic or political perspective.

Why I feel a need to make a post about this matter is that the first volume of Obama’s work is 768-pages. (The complete memoirs of Richard Nixon are 1,120 pages–ask yourself what other blog would have that nugget?) The price for the book is $45. Why I was curious about the first day of sales was due to where our nation is right now. We were only two weeks past Election Day, and no one knew with certainty weeks ago, when the publishing date was set, what the political landscape would look like. No one could have truly known Squatter-Gate would be a real thing, or that the antics of a segment of the nation in their refusal to accept the will of the voters would be so pronounced. So, yes, in light of all that the robust and truly energized book sales is a news story.

I have read a book review that dings Obama for supplying history lessons in his work, and Lord, given that he was a former law professor I would sure hope his writing would place his White House experience into the fabric of history. Framing his presidential years with the struggles that preceded his taking the oath of office is not only required for the sake of history, but something he absolutely deserves to tell in his own words.

The economic bang this book provides to bookstores nationwide must not be dismissed. With stores suffering due to the impact of COVID and the downturn in the economy many are trusting the robust sales from this book will aid in their survival until a vaccine can allow the nation to return to some sense of normal. For months The American Booksellers Association has stressed the importance of buying books, and at the same time staying healthy by being at home during this pandemic. There is now clearly one more reason for smiles at bookstores and in millions of reading nooks in homes nationwide.

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