The announcement Tuesday came at the end of an auction among multiple publishers bidding for the right to publish the books. Although financial terms were not disclosed, the New York Times, citing industry executives with knowledge of the bidding, said the opening offers for Barack Obama's book alone were between $18 million and $20 million.
Penguin Random House obtained both U.S. and international publishing rights to the books. Titles and release dates were not announced, but the books are expected to focus on the Obamas' years in the White House. The Chicago Tribune reported an unidentified publishing executive said Barack Obama's book would largely concern his presidency, while Michelle Obama intends to write an inspirational book for young people with her life as a positive example.
A "significant portion" of the advance funds will go to charities, including the Obama Foundation, according to the Tribune. The publisher will donate one million books to reading-related initiatives, Penguin Random House said.
Barack Obama's previous books include the 1995 memoir "Dreams from My Father" and the 2006 book "The Audacity of Hope." Both are regarded as contributing to Obama's rise to the White House, the Chicago Tribune noted. Michelle Obama's only book, about food and gardening, is "American Grown," published in 2012. The three books were published by Crown, a subsidiary of Penguin Random House.
"We are absolutely thrilled to continue our publishing partnership with President and Mrs. Obama," Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle said in a statement. "With their words and their leadership, they changed the world, and every day, with the books we publish at Penguin Random House, we strive to do the same. Now, we are very much looking forward to working together with President and Mrs. Obama to make each of their books global publishing events of unprecedented scope and significance."