Despite Henry Holt’s decision yesterday to push up the release date of Fire and Fury to today, independent booksellers are hopeful that they will have enough stock on hand to meet quickly increasing demand.
Michael Wolff’s White House exposé has become the book everyone is talking about. And wants. After excerpts from the title were released earlier this week, the book has become a thorn in President Trump’s side and a media sensation. The White House has even gone so far as to issue a cease-and-desist letter to Wolff and Holt, claiming the book is libelous and its publication should be halted.
The pre-publication media leaks about the book combined with the president’s public furor over the title have driven anticipation for it through the roof. Independent booksellers are now scrambling to get the title, which had been set for a January 9 release. At press time, the book was out of stock at both Amazon and bn.com.
Laurie Gillman at Washington, D.C.’s East City Book Shop said the store has had a lot or pre-orders, especially over the last two days, and hopes to get a shipment of 40 new copies by Friday afternoon to augment the 20 copies already in stock. Gillman acknowledged that the store has received requests from reporters looking to buy the book early; she said she fielded one call from the BBC asking about filming customers buying the book.
At Politics and Prose, co-owner Bradley Graham said he has more than 80 copies on hand and several hundred more on order. Graham said told PW that, since Thursday, dozens of customers have asked the store to put copies on hold for them.
The Daily Mail reported that Kramerbooks Afterwords Cafe in Washington D.C., after opening at midnight, sold out of its 75 copies within 15 minutes.
One complicating factor in supplying independents has been the snow storm that raced up the East Coast Thursday. Jonah Zimiles of words Bookstore in Maplewood, N.J., said his shop was closed Thursday because of the snow. He is now doubtful he will have enough copies to meet early demand. However, weather permitting, he is expecting a big shipment from Baker Taylor later in the day that should meet demand.
In California, Sherri Gallentine, buyer for Vroman’s and Book Soup, said she had some stock and was expecting more to arrive from Ingram on Friday. “We have so many special orders placed that I will most likely run out by the end of the day,” Gallentine said. “I have more stock arriving on Monday.”
The best-supplied store on the West Coast could be Copperfield’s Books. According to marketing coordinator Heather Gulino, the eight-store chain has 450 copies of the title is “ready to go.”
Demand for the book seemed lower away from the coasts. Two of Houston’s biggest independents—Brazos Bookstore and Murder by the Book—did not have any copies of the title in stock. Booksellers at both stores thought the title would not be a big seller. Brazos, which had ordered only three copies, did, however, up its order.
In the Midwest, Kristen Sandstrom, manager of Apostle Islands Booksellers in Bayfield, Wisc., said her store will have five copies of the book in stock early next week. Sarah Hollenbeck, co-owner of Women Children First in Chicago, expected her 12-book order to arrive today, adding she has received four calls requesting a copy.
Kris Kleindienst at Left Bank Books in St. Louis said her initial 20 copies are coming in today with more shipments due to arrive Monday which will bring total inventory to 100. “We are now watching this by the hour, so I fully expect we will reorder before the end of today,” she said.
At Barnes Noble, a representative said, the retailer has” stock landing in stores today in small quantities with additional copies of the book landing in stores early next week as originally planned. Obviously,” she added, “with yesterday’s storm…deliveries in certain locations may be delayed.”
ABA CEO Oren Teicher said that because of the sudden decision to push up the book’s publication date, some independent stores will have stock while others will not since books had been set to arrive at stores next week. Still, he reiterated the ABA’s support of Holt for going ahead with the publication of Fire and Fury and is hopeful wholesalers will be able to meet the needs of booksellers as quickly as possible.
This story has been updated with further information.