CHICAGO — She may not be Beyoncé, but Michelle Obama is selling out arenas — for her book tour.
The former first lady is embarking on a 10-city swing to engage an “intimate conversation” with her fans and to tell stories from her upcoming memoir, “Becoming.”
Presale for tickets opened Thursday, and within hours, Obama had tweeted that she was adding two more dates. The tour is set to begin on November 13, the day the book releases publicly, in Obama’s hometown of Chicago.
“Truly humbled by the response to my upcoming book tour,” she wrote. “I can’t wait to share BECOMING with all of you & hope to see you somewhere along the way!”
Just minutes after general public ticket sales opened at 11 a.m. ET Friday, most tickets — including all priced at $29.50, the cheapest fare — had sold out for the first event in Chicago, a CNN reporter who witnessed the electronic ticket scrum on Ticketmaster found.
That left just a handful of “front-row” packages for $500, including a copy of the book, the vendor’s page showed. Also available were some “VIP Packages,” offering a chance to sit in the front row, meet Obama and take home a signed copy of “Becoming” and a “special VIP gift.” Those cost at least $2,500.
No $29.50 tickets were available by early Friday afternoon in any tour city, the Ticketmaster website showed. Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
The prices had some fans frowning.
“I wish librarians had special access to attend @MichelleObama’s book release event! How did the entire United Center already sell out??” someone tweeted shortly after Friday’s sale began.
“A little very disappointed by the prices of Michelle Obama’s book tour,” another person tweeted. “When I realized it was going to be in a stadium I smiled but the prices are NOT smiling back at me.”
Tweeted another fan: “Can confirm that getting Michelle Obama tickets was more difficult than getting Beyoncè tickets.”
Obama shared the book release date in mid-September on Instagram.
“It’s the story of my humdrum plainness, my tiny victories, my lasting bruises, my ordinary hopes and worries,” she wrote. “It’s the story of who I am, truly, and I’m proud of it — blemishes and all.”
Ten percent of tour ticket sales will be donated to charities, schools and community groups in each tour city, tour producer Live Nation Entertainment said in a news release. Live Nation did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.