Global publishing event planned for Obamas' books

Global publishing event planned for Obamas' books

Penguin Random House UK is publishing the forthcoming books from former US president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama under its Viking imprint as part of a globally co-ordinated publication plan for the books, PRH c.e.o. Markus Dohle revealed today (13th March).

PRH acquired world rights to publish the books last month for a reported $60m. The two titles will have their own globally-coordinated publication plan and publication date across all PRH territories. However, PRH has not yet revealed the dates the books will be published.

In addition to the United States and Canada, where the books will be published by Crown, among the territories where PRH will publish English-language editions are the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa, under the UK company’s Viking imprint.

PRH Grupo Editorial will publish the books in Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan across two continents in Spain, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Portugal. There also will be a US Spanish-language edition published by PRH. 

Companhia das Letras will publish the books in Portuguese in Brazil.

PRH's sister company in Germany, Verlagsgruppe Random House, which is wholly owned by Bertelsmann and overseen by Dohle, will publish both books in German, in full coordination with PRH. 

Dohle, c.e.o. PRH, said: "The Penguin Random House teams around the world are comprised of the industry's most respected and accomplished publishers, and together we look forward to leveraging our editorial depth and unparalleled experience and reach to provide president and Mrs Obama with a global platform and audience for their books.”

Tom Weldon, c.e.o., PRH UK, added: “We could not be more thrilled that the Obamas have chosen Penguin Random House as their global and UK publishing home. Our publishers all believe in the real ability of books to change and shape lives for the better. We know the Obamas' books will be both magnificent pieces of writing and inspiring calls to action.”

On behalf of Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, c.e.o. Núria Cabutí said it was "a source of immense pride" to publish the Obamas across the Spanish-speaking world, while Luiz Schwarcz, publisher for Companhia das Letras publishing the books for Brazilian audiences, said the endeavour was "an honour" given the world is currently "in need of enlightening messages". 

Frank Sambeth, c.e.o., Verlagsgruppe Random House, added: “Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, individually and as a couple, uniquely embody what it means to take responsibility for the world in which we live. Their grace and style, humor, and intellectual rigor have made them universal role models, and an inspiration to people across the globe. We are thrilled to become a part of the Penguin Random House global publishing effort, by bringing their books to German readers."

Barack and Michelle brokered the deal for their repective books together through literary agent Robert Barnett, who also negotiated former UK prime minister Tony Blair's £4.5m book deal, and Deneen Howell of Williams & Connolly. The deal was reportedly worth $60m, the Financial Times reported last month.

According to PRH, both books will look back at their years in the White House, and the Obamas are set to donate "a significant portion" of their author proceeds to charity, including the Obama Foundation.

In support of the mission of The Obama Foundation and PRH's own commitment to social responsibility, PRH will donate one million books in the Obama family's name to First Book, a longstanding PRH non-profit partner promoting equal access to education and the Washington, DC-based partner for the 2016 White House digital education initiative, Open eBooks.