LEWISTON – Harry Potter he’s not, but former President Bill Clinton’s book, “My Life,” stirred a reasonably good response in the Twin Cities on its day of release Tuesday.

There were no midnight openings locally and no long lines at counters. Nevertheless, the book, which is selling for about $35, brought significant first-day business for local stores.

Jan Randall of Auburn was picking up her copy at Waldenbooks at the Auburn Mall early Tuesday afternoon.

“I reserved it yesterday because it’s our 36th anniversary and my husband (William Randall) saw the interview with Bill Clinton on 60 Minutes’ and he said, I’d like that book.'”

Erica Strout, manager of Waldenbooks, said they were very busy in the morning with people picking up their advance copies. A few were still on the shelf at mid-afternoon.

At Mr. Paperback at the Promenade Mall in Lewiston, the initial order of books was sold out by early afternoon and a lot of people were picking up copies they had ordered in advance, said store Manager Cheryl Perrino.

“It’s hot,” she said. “It equals Hillary’s book, for sure.” “Living History” was released a year ago by the former first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“It wasn’t as huge as Harry Potter,” she said. Perrino declined to say how many books were sold, but she said another shipment is coming Thursday.

People also told Perrino that they saw the “60 Minutes” interview, she said. “If the publicity is there, the book will be hot.”

A display of about a dozen different books at the front of Mr. Paperback had an alternative version of Clinton’s “My Life” in an audio six-CD set. By amusing coincidence, it was flanked by Joseph Wilson’s book, “The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife’s CIA Identity” on one side and Stephen Coonts’ fictional thriller, “Liars and Thieves.”

Laurie and Dan St. Pierre, owners of the Book Burrow and Caf in Auburn, said they expect the Clinton book to do well for them in coming weeks.

She said, “Some people have told us they are interested in reading My Life.’ Dan and I know it’s going to be a good book because we were at Book Expo in Chicago a few days ago and we heard Clinton give a talk on it.”

He was fascinating and he was very candid about his presidency, St. Pierre said. “He said nice things about President Bush.” Her husband recalled that Clinton “didn’t have anything nice to say about Kenneth Starr.”

A few copies of “My Life” will be in stock at The Book Burrow, but St. Pierre said their customers don’t tend to rush in on release dates.

Maurice Leblanc, circulation assistant at the Lewiston Public Library, said they were ready with a few copies of Clinton’s book on the release date.

“We purchased three copies and we probably have about a dozen names on the reserve list right now,” Leblanc said, adding that the Lewiston library will be buying some additional copies.

The Auburn Public Library closed a few days ago for its move to the Auburn Mall where it will have temporary quarters after July 12 and through the construction period for its major expansion project.

At Devaney Doak and Garrett Booksellers in Farmington, seven copies of Clinton’s book were sold Tuesday.

“It’s been pretty steady. So there is local interest,” owner Kenny Brechner said. “It’s not Harry Potter. The big question is: Does it have legs? How long will the interest last?'”

They did a wonderful job of promoting it but it still remains to be seen what people think of it, Brechner said. He ordered 15 of Clinton’s book and 250 of Harry Potter V in the initial order.

At Books-N-Things in Oxford, four orders have been put in for the Clinton book, which is about the same as when his wife’s book, “Living History,” hit the stands one year ago.

There has been no effort to stock the book in the store. People come in and order it and receive their copy a few days later, an employee said.

“It’s just not a Clinton area,” she said.

Regional reporters Donna Perry and Gail Geraghty contributed to this report.


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