These all came in today.
From one reader:
I know this is an old topic and one you’ve referred to, but I just spent much of the last 48 hours in airports in Manchester NH, Chicago (Midway), Louisville, and Baltimore, taking time to visit not just the ubiquitous Hudson News but a lot of smaller-potato bookstores during interminable waits for connections–NOT A SINGLE COPY of LF to be found. Amazing. But my son’s reading his gift copy in preparation for his fist semester at GWU!
And from another:
Just came from the Marietta (NW metro Atlanta) Borders and Barnes &
Noble (I’m stocking up on paperbacks for a long trip). Borders (where
I bought my copy a few weeks back) has no stock. B&N, which had no
stock for weeks, finally has six copies on the New Bestsellers rack,
but none on the tables in the entryway. Judging by the attitudes of
the staff, I can only surmise that this even this was a painful
I went to a Borders this morning. LF was not in the highest visibility area (where you might expect the #1 best seller to be) but it was prominently placed and they had as many in stock as the other best sellers. Of course, this is a Borders that hosted Brookhiser a couple of years ago when one of his books was published, so it may not be as far to the left as a typical Borders.
Jonah, Just to add a bit to this, a week or so ago, a clerk at the Barnes & Noble near me (Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, West Covina, or *whatever* it is – I don’t know the town boundaries – San Gabriel Valley east of LA, anyway) told me that they didn’t have the book, and they would not be getting it, but they’d order a copy for me if I wished. This was not said with any hostility or distaste that I could detect, but I thought it was kind of funny for a bestseller. I already had it from Amazon (it’s great, by the way), so I didn’t order it, but I’m thinking of buying one as a gift for a historian friend in Australia. Please don’t use my name if you post this.
At long last, this weekend, your book made it to the front of the store and onto the bestseller rack at the Barnes & Noble in Little Rock.
Me: This is all pretty representative of what I’ve heard over the last few days. Basically (and hopefully), I think the last email will be the most representative moving forward. My sense, from talking to a lot of folks in the business is that basically through a mixture of bad luck, bad practices and some ideological biases at the store (and wholesale) level, a lot of chains were simply content to avoid good placement of the book. That is until the news that next week I’ll be #1 on the Times list. Now poor or non-existent placement is indefensible (of course, I’d argue that a major book store refusing to stock a top ten book is indefensible in and of itself). So, it’ll start showing up more and more in the front of the store, or at least properly stocked elsewhere. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for airport bookstores to catch up as well. My understanding there is that Hudson is just simply very slow in terms of catching up with the market. Indeed, it’s amazing how in this age of lightning-fast inventory management, that the failure to buy-in to a product half a year ago basically means you’ll miss adequately selling a product in high demand. When all of this is over, I think I’ll pitch Rich on a piece about the book industry for the magazine, because this has really been an eye-opening experience. Update: From a reader in Amarillo:
Barnes and Noble has no copies. The helpful employee said ten or twelve were on order and added my name. No arched eyebrows or tsk tsking, just a helpful and efficient attitude. Thus stands Amarillo.