Bill Clinton and James Patterson thriller makes huge debut

A joint novel by perennial bestselling author James Patterson and former President Bill Clinton unleashed a 1-million-copy first printing to outlets on Monday.

By Tuesday, “The President Is Missing” had soared to No. 1 on both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble best-seller lists — after drawing record crowds last weekend at BookCon and at a signing at Barnes & Noble in Union Square in New York City on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the authors take their nationwide book tour to Philadelphia, for an interview by writer Lee Child.

The book has already sold the rights for a Showtime network drama series, reportedly for more than $5 million.

Said Barnes & Noble fiction buyer Sessalee Hensley: “I’ve never seen a collaboration like this in my career, with two truly unique authors who are both incredible storytellers.”

The deal also features an unusual collaboration by two publishing houses — the Knopf imprint of the Penguin Random House empire, which was Clinton’s past publisher, and the Little, Brown imprint of Hachette Books, which is Patterson’s longtime publishing house.

Washington, DC, lawyer Robert Barnett represents Clinton and Patterson and cooked up the unusual cooperative arrangement.

“The idea was received warmly by the authors and respective publishers, Knopf and Little, Brown — upon reading the 50-page proposal, which suggested the work had blockbuster potential,” said Knopf spokesman Paul Bogaards.

Knopf did the printing and handled worldwide rights sales for the joint venture. Little, Brown did the shipping and distribution in the US.

In the UK, the rights, which were marketed by Barnett, belong solely to Penguin Random House.

Barnett declined to comment on the size of the authors’ advance. Suffice it to say millions of dollars as Patterson is the No. 1 fiction writer at Hachette/Little, Brown and Clinton’s 2004 autobiography, “My Life,” fetched a $12 million advance, sources said at the time.

Its bestselling status eventually ended up netting Clinton more than $15 million — including royalties.

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