Starr report headed for bookstores

September 16, 1998|By TERRY TALBERT

Several book forms of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's report on the president and Monica Lewinsky are hot off the press and can be found in at least one local store.

Whether it's headed for the local best-seller list remains to be seen.

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Debi Hamlin, senior book seller for Waldenbooks at Valley Mall, said her store got six orders for books on the Starr report over the weekend.

Three different books containing the report were on the shelves at Waldenbooks on Tuesday. Hamlin said all but one of the 20 or 25 copies of Prima Publishing's unedited version, "The Starr Report," were sold the same day. The book costs $9.95.

"I like it because it has larger print than the rest," Hamlin said. She said she was trying to decide whether to buy a copy for herself.


The other two books available at Waldenbooks are "The Starr Report," a 523-page version published by Pocket Books for $5.99, and "The Starr Report: The findings of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr on President Clinton and the Lewinsky Affair, with analysis by the staff of the Washington Post." That 421-page book, printed by the new nonfiction publishing house Public Affairs, retails for $10.

Hamlin said she thinks people are buying books on the report because they are curious, and because they want to judge the situation for themselves.

"They're interested not in what the media says ... but what was actually said," Hamlin said.

She said young people haven't shown an interest in the books, which are being bought by people in their 30's, 40's and up.

Waldenbooks was ready for a rush on the three Starr-related books, with a total of 147 in stock. And they were giving them good play.

Books on the report, and other books on Clinton, were on a rack at the store's entrance under a banner that said "What's Hot."

A few feet away, outside the store, a standing sign announced "The Starr Report is here!"

Late Wednesday morning when a handful of shoppers passed the sign, only one stopped. He briefly eyed the covers before continuing on his way.

Fawnia Souders of Wonder Book & Video said stores on Massey Boulevard in Hagerstown had Starr report books on order. She didn't know when they would be available for sale.

Souders said the stores had gotten a few calls from people interested in the report.

A Books 'N Things spokeswoman said she didn't know if the store would be getting the Starr report.

One local bookstore won't carry the report - The Book Store Inc. on West Washington Street in downtown Hagerstown.

"It doesn't equate to what we're about," said owner Pam Reed. "We're about good literature and information - positive information."

Reed said she expected the Starr report the be "a flash in the pan" and likened the interest in it to the interest in the Salmon Rushdie book "Satanic Verses."

"The ink's barely dried and interest dies so quickly," she said.

Reed said she won't stock books containing the report, but will take special orders for them.

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