As the transition of power began Friday morning in Washington, D.C., the Harvard Book Store offered bookworms something to remember outgoing President Barack Obama and the First Lady by.
The shop in Harvard Square printed a run of 20 books containing the goodbye speeches recently delivered by Obama and his wife, Michelle, as they prepared to depart from the White House after eight years.
Titled “Barack Obama & Michelle Obama: Farewell Speeches,” employees printed the palm-sized books in the store, on what the company calls its “Paige M. Gutenborg,” a custom-printing machine that can assemble a book in roughly five minutes, before spitting it out, ready to read.
Alex Meriwether, the store’s marketing manager, said the books were produced by the staff. The cover, he said, was designed by the bookstore’s manager, and features an excerpt from Obama’s final address, including the line “Yes, we can. Yes, we did. Yes, we can.”
The text of the speeches is in the public domain, but printing them in book form was seen as an opportunity to offer people a keepsake from the outgoing administration.
“It’s a fulfilling experience reading it as well as listening to it,” said Meriwether of the book, which is 72 pages long. “I think that is ... what’s particularly distinct about Barack Obama and his speech writing team.”
As of Friday morning, several of the books had been sold.
This isn’t the first time that the bookstore has packaged together Obama’s speeches, and offered them to readers. A volume titled “Two More Speeches,” which was released in 2016, contains Obama’s “Speech on Race” and the “Eulogy for the Honorable Reverend Clementa Pinckney,” which was read following the Charleston, S.C., shooting.
When asked if the store would be creating a book based on Trump’s inaugural speech, which he delivered to the nation after being sworn in Friday afternoon, Meriwether said he didn’t believe there would be much interest.
“But if people requested it, we would put something together,” he said.