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Clinton memoir reaches shelves

June 23, 2004|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

Washington County - Copies of Bill Clinton's memoir "My Life" were prominently displayed at the entrances of several area bookstores as the book went on sale Tuesday.

Unlike at bookstores in New York, there were no long lines, just a slow but steady flow of customers trickling in to purchase the autobiography, area bookstore managers said.

Chambersburg, Pa., advertising executive Mike Sanni reserved his copy June 2 at Borders Books Music & Cafe in the Centre at Hagerstown.

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Sanni was one of 65 customers who will receive a 40 percent discount off the $35 retail price as a bonus for reserving his 957-page copy early, said Borders' Sales Inventory Manager Andy Wallace.

"That's fantastic," Sanni said as the cashier rang up his book.

Sanni, a Clinton fan, said "My Life" will be a great keepsake.

"I liked President Clinton. I think he'll be one of the best presidents to go down in history," he said.

Sanni joked that the current President Bush's memoir probably would be much shorter.

At Waldenbooks in Valley Mall, Assistant Manager Karen Cook said she hoped Clinton's Tuesday appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" would pay off big in book sales.

"I'm hoping to have a great response. She (Oprah) can sell some books. Usually when she has an author on, we get calls from viewers before the show is over," Cook said.

For avid book readers like Ruth Sklencar of Boonsboro, not even an appearance with Oprah will get Clinton out of the dog house after the Monica Lawinsky scandal.

"His personal choices are a part of who he is," she said as she purchased two other books instead.

Clinton's promotional book tour will take him across the country, but not without opposition. Citizens United, a conservative lobby group, purchased advertising time during Clinton's Sunday night interview on "60 Minutes" and accused him of failing to fight terrorism. Conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has said the book should be called "My Lie."

Although reviews have called " My Life" self-serving and dull, Clinton maintains global popularity. A Mack Trucks consultant in town from Paris, France, said he purchased a copy of the book at the local Waldenbooks.

"We like him (Clinton ) very much in France," said Benjamin Trampoglieri. "I want to know about the life of a man who was a very young president."

Sales were much slower at Book Cellar at Prime Outlets at Hagerstown, where some customers like Dave Hummel of Huntingdon, Pa., barely noticed the display. He said he wasn't a big Clinton fan.

"I'm sure he's learned from his mistakes, but maybe he wants to explain some things," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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