Next year marks the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth in 1809, and the theme of Obama's inauguration ceremony on January 20 will be "A New Birth of Freedom" -- words taken from the revered president's immortal Gettysburg Address.
Readers are intrigued not just by Obama's own words but by those of his celebrated predecessors as they work out his intentions in office to cope with two wars and an economy in a tailspin.
"This is part of a broader interest in Obama, trying to get into his mind and learn about how he sees the world," Zelizer told AFP. "And this is the Oprah (Winfrey) book era, where people love top 10 lists and featured books," he said.
Both the Goodwin and Alter historical works are published by Simon and Schuster, as is the top-selling children's book "Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope," and the imprint is working overtime to meet demand.
Since late October, according to the hardcover division's publicity director Victoria Myer, Simon and Schuster has gone back to press "multiple times" to print another 275,000 copies of "Team of Rivals."