Barack Obama has reportedly been writing the book himself and handwriting the first draft on legal pads

By Karen Mizoguchi
May 09, 2019 04:45 PM

Barack Obama is reportedly eyeing a big book release next year.

The former president’s highly-anticipated memoir could hit shelves sometime during the 2020 presidential race, according to USA Today, which also reported that Obama has been writing the book himself and handwriting the first draft on legal pads, similar to how he previously wrote his many White House speeches.

Obama’s publisher, Penguin Random House, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

The release of his book is a big deal not only because it would bring Obama’s post-White House anecdotes into the spotlight, but also because the timing of the book launch will undoubtedly be among the topics when voters, most notably Democrats, will be choosing their next presidential nominee.

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Barack Obama
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Amid a crowded 2020 ballot, Obama’s name recognition could influence who voters favor, especially if he vocalizes his support for a specific nominee.

In late April, Obama held off on declaring his approval after his former right-hand man Joe Biden announced his 2020 presidential campaign.

“President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made,” Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill said in a statement to PEOPLE. “He relied on the Vice President’s knowledge, insight, and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today.”

In fact, Biden told reporters that same day: “I asked President Obama not to endorse. Whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merits.”

The release of Obama’s book comes after his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama broke records with her memoir Becoming, which became one of the biggest-selling autobiographies ever.

Obama Portrait, Washington, USA - 12 Feb 2018
Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Since its November 2018 release, her book — which tells a candid account of her life and marriage as well as the journey to conceiving daughters Malia and Sasha and their family’s time in the White House — reportedly sold nearly 10 million copies and was a No. 1 seller in multiple countries.

And the Obamas are preparing to launch even more projects on another platform.

In late April, the couple announced the initial slate of their fiction and nonfiction programming they are producing as part of an exclusive deal with Netflix.

Though no official release dates have been announced, the Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground, confirmed that the projects will debut “over the next several years.”

The Obamas partnered with Netflix in early 2018 for an undisclosed sum in an unusual post-White House phase for a first couple.