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Ken Gross, former associate general counsel at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and a campaign finance expert, said there doesn’t appear to be any rules that would prevent Mr. Obama from signing book deals while in the White House.

“There are members of Congress who have had deals and they get paid, I don’t know that he would have needed to sign that before January 20,” Mr. Gross said.

Last summer during a campaign event, Mr. Obama offered voters a glimpse into how he approached writing his two previous books.

Someone at a Fairfax town hall asked whether he had words of inspiration for young writers, and he responded by talking about the importance of reading and added he’d made time to read his daughters all of the books from the Harry Potter series.

“I´ve written two books; I actually wrote them myself,” he said.

On writing, he said it helped him to keep a journal.

“It forces you to ask questions of yourself, how to reconcile different attitudes and how to process different experiences,” he said, and “voice your opinions in a coherent way.”

“By the time I wrote the book, I had a better sense of where my life had been and why I was doing what I was doing,” he said.

• Chuck Neubauer contributed to this report.