Quest for the Trump chronicles

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  • Photo: Shakespeare and Co.

  • Photo: Shakespeare and Co.

Bookstores desperately seek “Fire and Fury” as readers hunger to wolf down Michael Wolff’s tell-all book


The reviews are in from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and they’re not very pretty:

“A really boring and untruthful book,” panned @realDonaldTrump.

“A garbage book” penned by a “garbage author,” said White House aide Stephen Miller.

“A total fabrication,” said press secretary Sarah Sanders. “Complete fantasy.”

“Cease and desist from any further publication,” wrote Charles Harder, the president’s personal attorney. Retract “false/baseless statements.”

New Yorkers aren’t buying the invective. In fact, to their great dismay, legions of would-be readers have not been able to buy the book either.

The 336-page tell-all in question — the “phony new book,” in Trump’s infelicitous phrase, by that “total loser who made up stories” Michael Wolff — is of course “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” published by Henry Holt & Co.

“We had 440 copies on Friday, and by Saturday morning, they were all gone,” said Chris Doeblin, owner of Book Culture, which operates three stores on the Upper West Side. “The phone has been ringing off the hook ever since from people trying to find it.”

Trump’s intervention and the frenzied attacks from aides may have boosted sales by some 425 copies at Doeblin’s shops on Broadway, Columbus Avenue and West 112th Street: “Before the uproar, we had planned to order about 15 copies,” he said.

Across town, at the Corner Bookstore on Madison Avenue at 93rd Street, manager Chris Lenahan said he managed to get 70 copies last week and another 25 on Monday.

“They were all gone before they got into the store,” he said. “They never got put on display because so many people called asking us to hold the book for them.” At least 50 people are still on a waiting list.

But Manhattanites aren’t exactly known for their patience. At Logos Bookstore, on York Avenue at 84th Street, owner Harris Healy III says some customers placed reservations when they couldn’t get copies, but plenty of others simply “zoomed in and zoomed out of the store” to hunt for it somewhere else.

“It’s the hottest story of the moment, they want it right on the spot, and nobody wants to wait,” Healy said.

In a 90-minute period starting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, January 9th, Straus News canvassed seven bookstores by phone, including the Barnes & Noble on Union Square, the B&N on Broadway and West 82nd Street and the Strand Bookstore on Broadway and East 12th Street.

Only one of the seven — or 14.3 percent — had physical copies of the book in stock that morning, and employees of both B&Ns said they didn’t anticipate receiving any more copies of the Wolff broadside before January 19th.

The lucky shop still sporting inventory was Shakespeare & Co., on Lexington Avenue at East 69th Street, and owner Dane Neller offered to prove the point by sending along three photographs showing a handful of copies in the display windows and the best-seller section.

“It’s hugely in demand,” he said. “And it’s in the store right now, and of course it’s on display, so come on over and buy it!”

When was the last time a publishing phenomenon left so many readers and booksellers similarly empty-handed?

Doeblin and Lenahan agreed: It was in 1989, after the publication of “The Satanic Verses,” when Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for the death of novelist Salman Rushdie for blasphemy. The global outrage created a run on the book and propelled it to best-sellerdom.

There is a common thread spanning the three intervening decades. “Back then, it was the Ayatollah Khomeini who told us not to buy the book,” Doeblin said. “This time, it is the Ayatollah Trump.”

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