Barack, Michelle Obama sign bumper book deal with Penguin Random House

The bidding for the global rights of the books reached more than $60 million. The Obamas plan to donate a “significant portion” of their author proceeds to charity, including to the Obama Foundation.

Photo by: AP Archive
Photo by: AP Archive

Former US president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 46th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner in Washington, September 17, 2016.

Barack and Michelle Obama have signed a deal to publish their memoirs with New York-based Penguin Random House, the publisher announced on Tuesday.

Penguin Random House said in a statement it has "acquired world publication rights for two books, to be written by president and Mrs Obama respectively."

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but bidding for the high-profile double book deal topped $60 million, a record sum for US presidential memoirs, according to the Financial Times.

Until now, the record for a US presidential memoir was $15 million paid for Bill Clinton's "My Life," released in 2004. George W. Bush received $10 million for "Decision Points" in 2010.

First lady Michelle Obama and President Barack read the book, "Where The Wild Things Are," to children during the White House Easter Egg Roll at the White House in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2016.

As part of the agreement, the company will donate one million books in the Obama family's name to First Book, a charity, Penguin said.

"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," said Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle.

America's first African American president is already the author of two memoirs and a children's book. 

The Obamas took a long vacation after Donald Trump was sworn in as president on January 20, and the former president has stuck by a pledge to keep a low public profile unless events threatening what he called America's "core values" warranted that he speak out.

US presidents tend to leave town after leaving the White House. But the Obamas are settling into a rented mansion in Washington's Kalorama neighbourhood.