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Obama Made Nearly $2.5 Million From Books in '08

By Garance Franke-Ruta
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 20, 2009

Nice work if you can get it.

President Obama's lawyer on Tuesday filed disclosure forms with the secretary of the Senate for the president's final year as a U.S. senator showing that, as he spent 2008 campaigning for his new job, he also earned nearly $2.5 million in royalties from the sale of his books.

And he added $250,000 more just before taking office, signing a Jan. 15 licensing deal with his publisher for an abridged version of "Dreams From My Father" that's "suitable for middle grade or young adult readers." (The publisher will get half of the deal's $500,000 total.) The sum was an advance against royalties -- and with Obama's track record of moving books, it's a safe bet he'll earn even more.

Obama has written two best-selling books, "Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance," published in 1995, and "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream," published in 2006.

The majority of his 2008 royalties came from "The Audacity of Hope," which brought in $1,512,933. "Dreams From My Father" also continued to sell well, earning the author $949,910.

Both books are published by Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House. The young-adult book deal is a joint project between Crown and Random House Children's Books.

Obama has also done an audio version of "Dreams," and the book has been translated into numerous languages under more than 40 international licensing agreements.

An attachment to the disclosure shed more light on Obama's book deals. On Jan. 9, he amended a December 2004 deal with Crown, which is expecting another nonfiction book from him, to note that the book "would not be delivered during his term of office."

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