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Monday, August 11, 2008

Great Idea

And straight to paperback with a payoff for charity. Barack Obama's new book, Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama's Plan to Renew America's Promise, co-written by the candidate and his campaign staff, will be released on September 9th. This is a great way for Obama to get his policy ideas, in his own language and on his own terms, directly into the hands of potentially hundreds of thousands of voters, and with luck, media exposure will expand that reach to millions more. (Oprah Book Club choice, anyone?) According to the AP:
"Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama's Plan to Renew America's Promise" is coming out Sept. 9 as a paperback with an announced first printing of 300,000 copies and a list price of $13.95. Looking ahead to the digital market, the e-book, also $13.95, will go on sale the day before.

"We are proud to have published two best-selling books by Barack Obama and are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to work with his campaign on such an important and inspiring book at this critical moment in our country," Crown Publishing Group president Jenny Frost said in a statement.

The book will include a foreword by Obama, the Democrats' presumptive presidential nominee, and feature sections — written by members of Obama for America, his presidential campaign — on such issues as health care, energy and national security. "Change We Can Believe In" also compiles some of his better known speeches, including his celebrated talk on race and his recent address in Berlin.

"Change" will be released by Three Rivers Press, a paperback imprint of Crown Publishing, which published Obama's "Dreams From My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope." According to Obama's literary representative, Washington attorney Robert Barnett, the contract is between Crown and Obama's presidential campaign, not Obama himself.

Financial terms were not available, although Barnett says the campaign will donate all net proceeds to a charity still to be determined. The new release was assembled over the past few weeks and is not part of the senator's current deal with Crown, which calls for him to write two more books, including a children's book.

"Change We Can Believe In" will test Obama's appeal. Policy books are rarely hits with the public, although they can be quite useful for candidates, such as Obama, who have been criticized for lacking substance. In 1992, Bill Clinton and running mate Al Gore released "Putting People First," a blueprint for their time in office that became a best seller and remained popular even after they were elected.

Obama's book will have strong competition at stores. It comes out at the same time as Bob Woodward's fourth volume on the Bush administration, one of the fall's most anticipated releases.
Interesting that they consider Bob Woodward's book to be competition for Obama. If anything, especially if the rumors that Woodward will be revealing even more bombshells about the Bush administration's failures (and by proxy those of its Republican enablers in the House and Senate), Woodward's release will serve as fuel for the sales of Obama's book as Americans are reminded afresh of the stakes and the road that led us here and begin to seriously consider the options before them. This book will outline, in substance, Obama's policy positions, which the evening news shows only gloss over barely, if at all.

And all for only $13.95 (and Amazon's got it on sale now for pre-order at just $11.16).

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