- The Washington Times - Monday, August 11, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) | He’s written million-selling books about his early years and the meaning of public life. Now, Sen. Barack Obama, with the help of his campaign staff, has another side to share with readers: policy wonk.

“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 Mr. 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 lawyer Robert Barnett, the contract is between Crown and Obama’s presidential campaign, not Mr. Obama himself.

Financial terms were not available, although Mr. 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 Mr. Obama’s appeal. Policy books are rarely hits with the public, although they can be quite useful for candidates, such as Mr. 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.

Mr. 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.

Crown is a division of Random House Inc.

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