- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 23, 2004

City folk might have swooned over the much-ballyhooed arrival of “My Life,” former President Bill Clinton’s autobiography, but there’s little hubbub in the American heartland, where the citizenry seems less impressed with hype and hyperbole.

Although the New York Times, Associated Press and other news organizations gushed over Mr. Clinton’s “rock star” attributes and adoring throngs at a Manhattan book signing, the local press offered alternative takes yesterday.

“Area bookstores are not experiencing the ‘My Life’ demand that the rest of the nation is … . No one camped outside of Glenwood bookstores,” noted the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent in western Colorado.

“Clinton’s book not a big hit here,” observed the Tucson Citizen in Arizona.

The headlines were almost identical in Montana.

“Clinton book no best seller here,” noted the Billings Gazette. “Copies of the former president’s 957-page autobiography reportedly were going fast in other parts of the country on the day of its release, but not, apparently, in Billings.”

Mr. Clinton’s book sold more than 400,000 copies in the United States on Tuesday, topping the record for first-day sales of a nonfiction book and prompting publisher Alfred A. Knopf to print an additional 725,000 copies, bringing the total run to 2.25 million.

The former president still has been bested by a boy wizard, however. The children’s fantasy “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” sold 5 million copies on its first day in stores last year.

In the meantime, the nation’s rumored case of “Clinton-mania” might be a mild one.

“Clinton’s book looks like a hit in Manhattan, more like a miss in Buffalo … readers don’t appear to be buying the hype — or the book,” the Buffalo News stated yesterday.

Hoosiers were ho-hum about the Clinton book.

“Bookstores around Indianapolis were quiet this morning … there were no long lines, no special early openings, and, it appeared, no widespread clamor for the former president’s 957-page book,” the Indianapolis Star reported.

“Former president’s book isn’t exactly flying off local shelves,” according to the South Bend Tribune, another Indiana paper.

Mr. Clinton didn’t wow them in California or Florida, either.

The Sacramento Bee noted the book generated “a lot of buzz, a few smiles and, locally, well, not exactly a stampede” in the California capital.

Local response also was not “overwhelming,” according to the Tampa Tribune in Florida. “Expecting a rush on ‘My Life,’ the Barnes and Noble in Tampa opened its doors an hour early. David Gorsen rushed to be first in line and was stunned to find himself all alone.”

Down in Mississippi, bookseller Diane Shepherd “only ordered two copies” of Mr. Clinton’s book, according to the Hattiesburg American.

“When Hillary’s book came out, I ordered a lot, had a big display and then they didn’t sell,” she told the paper. “If the demand was here, I’d order as many as I needed to order.”

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