News | Penguin Random House | New York, 01/13/2021

‘A Promised Land’ Was 2020’s Bestselling Book In The U.S.

The U.S. trade journal “Publishers Weekly” has published its list of the 25 best-selling books of 2020. The ranking is topped by Barack Obama’s memoir “A Promised Land,” which sold nearly 2.6 million copies in 2020. Nine other titles from Penguin Random House also made the list, including, once again, “Becoming” by Michelle Obama.

It is probably unprecedented in the history of American publishing that a husband and wife managed to simultaneously place their respective biographies in the annual list of the 25 best-selling books in the United States. And it is, of course, the Obamas who have achieved this remarkable feat, with their two books published by the Penguin Random House publisher Crown. The prestigious annual bestseller ranking is compiled by the U.S. trade journal “Publishers Weekly.” And the 2020 list is topped by Barack Obama. “A Promised Land,” the first volume of Obama’s memoirs about his presidency, sold nearly 2.6 million copies, according to NPD Bookscan figures. Michelle Obama’s memoir “Becoming,” first published in 2018, is at No. 19 on the list with 596,000 books sold in 2020. 

Besides the Barack and Michelle Obama memoirs, eight other bestsellers from Penguin Random House imprints made the Publishers Weekly list. The novel “Where The Crawdads Sings” (Putnam) by Delia Owens made sixth place on the list with 1.13 million books sold, while “Untamed” (Dial) by Glennon Doyle, another memoir, came in seventh with 1.02 million copies sold. The anti-racism manual “How To Be An Antiracist” (One World) by Ibram X. Kendi ranks 14th with 697,000 copies sold. The Eric Carle children’s classic “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” (Philomel) is in 16th place with 610,000 copies sold. “Little Fires Everywhere” (Penguin) by Celeste Ng is in 18th place with 597,000 books sold, followed by “Greenlights” (Crown) by Matthew McConaughey with 565,000. “Caste” (Random House) by Isabel Wilkerson sold nearly 543,000 copies, putting it at #23, and “The Splendid And The Vile” (Crown) by Erik Larson made it to #25.