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Renewed Interest in Obama Book

The surge of interest in Barack Obama (search) after his speech to the Democratic National Convention (search) is spilling over to a book he wrote a decade ago, with a first edition copy going for $255 on eBay and pre-release orders for a new edition already putting it on best-seller lists.

The first edition of the U.S. Senate candidate's "Dreams From My Father" had started at $20 on eBay, but after 28 bids on the Internet auction site, it was up to $255 Monday evening.

At a campaign stop, Obama noted that a new edition is coming out Aug. 10 — "not a moment too soon. I don't want people spending that much for my book."

That new edition is already making its way onto the Internet best-seller lists. Pre-release orders had pushed it into the top 50 at Amazon.com, and it was at No. 9 in the biography category at Barnesandnoble.com.

"Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" is Obama's memoir of growing up in Hawaii the son of a black man and white woman. He discusses trying to come to grips with his racial identity, a period of rebellion that included drug use, traveling to Africa and becoming a community activist in Chicago.

It was published in 1995 to strong reviews but only modest sales. Obama said 15,000 copies were printed, and he still has several boxes of them in his basement.

Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, decided to reissue the book after Obama won the Illinois Democratic Senate primary in March. Then he delivered a keynote address that thrilled Democrats, and interest in the book took off.

Crown plans to print 50,000 copies initially and is prepared to pump out more, senior editor Rachel Klayman said.