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From Newsweek

What's Going On With Obama's Book Royalties?

Did Barack Obama’s book sales decline last year? On Wednesday, the White House released tax returns for the president and first lady, who jointly reported about $2.8 million in income last year. The bulk of that—about $2.6 million—were royalties from the president’s two books: “The Audacity of Hope” and “Dreams From My Father.” That’s hardly a shabby figure, but Obama’s book income was much higher the year before, when he reported almost $4.1 million in royalties, according to his 2007 Senate financial disclosure. The likely explanation: Although both of his books were best-sellers all last year, most of the sales were of the paperback versions, which earned Obama a lot less money. In May 2007, just after he officially declared his candidacy for president, Obama filed a financial disclosure that included an explanation of just how much money he gets from his books:

Royalties for the two non-fiction books are: 15 percent of the US price for hardcover book sales; 7.5 percent  of the U.S. price for trade paperback sales; 8 percent of the U.S. price for the first 150,000 of mass market paperback book sales—10 percent thereafter; and 10 percent of the amount received by the publisher for audio book sales.

In other words, Obama struck it rich by publishing “The Audacity of Hope” in October 2006—just as the buzz for a presidential run was beginning. The book was available in hardcover only for more than a year, right up until the Democratic primaries began, hence the big royalties he reported in 2007. By your Gaggler's estimation, Obama got $3.75 for every hardcover sold, versus the roughly $1.12 he got per paperback.

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