No big surprises here, but both of Barack Obama's books ("The Audacity of Hope," Obama's writings on politics published in 2006, and "Dreams From My Father," his 1995 memoir) are in the top 25 of Amazon.com's bestseller list this morning. Sales of both books (now in the millions) have been strong throughout the campaign season.
They have far outsold any of the books attacking Obama, including Jerome Corsi's "Obama Nation." (Corsi is also the co-author of "Unfit for Command," the book believed to have been a factor in defeating 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.)
Both Obama's books have met with generally positive reviews all along and some pundits credit them with helping Americans to gain favorable views of him as both a person and a politician. "Dreams from My Father" was published before Obama began his political career and tells his life story up to his entry in Harvard Law School. One Monitor reader said of the book, "He tells his story so earnestly and movingly that a person learns about himself/herself through this book and about the society she/he lives in."
"The Audacity of Hope" served to help introduce Obama to Americans as a politician. Monitor reviewer Ari Pinkus wrote of this book in 2007, "The openness and eloquence with which Obama shares his personal story interwoven with his broad vision for America is compelling. For those who have been disillusioned by the divisiveness of politics, Obama inspires."
Now that Obama has been elected to the US presidency, his books may also serve to introduce him to the rest of the world. In Britain, Canongate Publishing, which released both "The Audacity of Hope" and "Dreams From My Father" in the UK last year, has ordered an extra 120,000 copies of the books. More than 300,000 copies had already been printed for pre-Christmas sales, but Canongate's chief executive Jamie Byng says he now expects sales of at least half a million by the end of the year, with a likely 250,000 next year.
"Interest in Barack has reached fever pitch,” says Byng.
The two books are now also set to be translated into dozens of languages.