Most book authors don’t charge fans to attend one of their book signings, but Michelle Obama is doing things differently. On her book tour, the former First Lady is looking to distribute the wealth once again – from your pocket to hers.
Rather than do a traditional book signing, Mrs. Obama is embarking on a ten-city tour of “intimate conversations,” only these “intimate” chats will be held in arenas that seat over 10,000. If you want to attend, you’ll have to pay – big time.
Tickets to her book tour went on sale Friday, and fans were shocked to see prices are higher than you would pay for a Beyonce concert.
If you actually want a signed book and maybe a picture with the First Lady, it will cost you $3,000. Fans on a budget can still attend her speech, but sitting in the nosebleed sections of those arenas will still set you back $30. You won’t get to meet her or shake her hand, and she won’t sign your book for that price.
By comparison, when Hillary Clinton went on her book tour, it only required a book purchase and standing in line at Costco, where several of the signings were held.
Many liberals are taken aback by the sheer level of marketing and greed at play. One Twitter user quoted author Anand Giridharadas, who criticized the Obama book tour by saying “An arena with tiered seating is a powerful metaphor for everything they [Obamas] presumably want to destroy.”
There’s a lot to chew on by @BernsteinJacob, quoting Author of Winner Take All: @AnandWrites: “But an arena with tiered seating is a powerful metaphor for everything they [Obamas] presumably want to destroy.” #CashRulesEverythingAroundMe https://t.co/XHCw9NLDCn
— Khalil G. Muhammad (@KhalilGMuhammad) September 22, 2018
Most media outlets gave the book tour positive coverage, with few mentioning the outrageous ticket prices.
Last week, Michelle Obama announced her nationwide book tour of “Becoming,” her first memoir. But when tickets went live on Friday, fans freaked out at the sky-high prices, which are as expensive as going to a Beyoncé concert.
Nosebleed seats start at $30, while front-row seats go for $3,000 and include a pre-show photo opportunity with the former first lady, a signed book, and other “VIP” gifts. To put it in perspective, VIP tickets to Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “On The Run II” tour are $1,000.
“Michelle Obama is out here selling Beyoncé priced tickets and I was not prepared,” one user wrote on Twitter, followed by a crying emoji.
“This is for the upper-middle to upper class only,” tweeted another Obama fan. “The rest of us can’t swing $200 for one ticket.”
Michelle Obama took to Twitter Friday to celebrate the response.
Truly humbled by the response to my upcoming book tour. I can’t wait to share BECOMING with all of you & hope to see you somewhere along the way! pic.twitter.com/uT7im9hnFk
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) September 20, 2018
But Deborah Speer, editor of concert magazine Pollstar, told the Washington Post that while most writers don’t sell out stadiums for a book tour, Obama is an exception.
“You don’t see it every day, but she’s not a typical author,” she said. “Michelle Obama is kind of a rock star herself.”
The former first lady’s 10-city book tour, which is promoted as “an intimate conversation,” includes two shows at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Obama plans to donate 10 percent of ticket sales to charity.
But others are perfectly fine spending a pretty penny for Obama tickets.
“I wasn’t/am not at all mad about the Michelle Obama ticket prices,” wrote one user. “I paid around that much to see Beyonce both times lol. Both women are worth it.”
The tour kicks off on the book’s release date, Nov. 13.
Mrs. Obama even recorded a video for Ebony Magazine promoting her book.
Former first lady Michelle Obama will embark on a 10-city tour to share her story with fans starting in her hometown of Chicago Nov. 13, the day the book is scheduled to release. https://t.co/5JWQUIpD9p pic.twitter.com/XkJwH3A6Bz
— EBONY MAGAZINE (@EBONYMag) September 20, 2018
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