Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Clinton's tome slow out of gate

By Jim Knippenberg
Enquirer staff writer

Former president Bill Clinton's My Life (Knopf, $35) got off to a fairly slow start locally Tuesday, the first day of sales for his 957-page memoir.

"We sold just over 30 today. We also had 70 pre-sold and a lot of people picked them up early," said Sarah Hall, events coordinator for Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Norwood.

Joseph-Beth stayed open past midnight Monday and opened at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday to catch hardcore buyers. But, unlike stores in Washington, D.C., and New York, where lines were out the door, "we only had a handful of people," Hall said.

Clinton carried Ohio and Kentucky in 1992 and 1996, but voters in Greater Cincinnati favored Republicans.

"Nothing out of the ordinary" is how training supervisor Kraal Wiggins described the day at Borders Tri-County. "It's been much like the first day of any big-name book, but certainly no lines out the door."

One reader who bought early was JoAnn Barry of Southgate. She pre-bought it several weeks ago and got her copy at noon Tuesday.

"I haven't been able to start reading yet because I'm giving a party. But I'm going to start very soon," she said. "I don't usually pre-order or buy books the first day out, but I feel he's a very complex man and I want to know more about him, especially his early life."

Libraries haven't seen much of a rush either. Kenton County Public Library in Covington has 58 people on the waiting list. Fifty to 100 is normal for a major release, said reference librarian Rick Sacksteder.

"I'm not at liberty to discuss numbers, but sales have been brisk, though not as good as we had hoped," said Daisy Morton, assistant manager of Barnes & Noble's Kenwood store."


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