Friday, January 9, 2004

Pete's book hits the bookstores

No Harry Potter numbers, but single sales brisk

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Don Snider picked up a copy of Pete Rose's autobiography, My Prison Without Bars, at the Milford Kroger store Thursday
(Michael E. Keating photo)
Best price for Pete Rose: My Prison Without Bars in Greater Cincinnati Thursday: $17.46 at Media Play in Westwood.

And if you stopped at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Norwood to get a copy, you found a virtual media event (sans Rose, who is not due here for two weeks). A long table, laden with copies of the book, was decorated with bats, caps and framed Rose photographs - all at the front door.

While you didn't find lines of fans waiting for the long-anticipated biography, in which the former Reds star confesses to betting on baseball, sales were steady at numerous book outlets across Cincinnati.

By late afternoon, Joseph-Beth had sold 1,067 copies. And those who bought the book at the $24.95 list price were entitled to bring it back Jan. 21 to be autographed by the Hit King.

They were assigned a place in the line, said bookseller Michael Fraser. But the line will be cut off when sales reach about 1,500 - the number of books Rose can sign in two hours - in the next day or so.

On the other side of town - at Westwood's Media Play - more than 500 copies had been purchased for $17.46 by Thursday evening. (Next best price found: $18.71 at Kroger stores, using a Preferred Customer Card.)

In Media Play, a table is already set up toward the back where Rose will sign autographs from noon to 2 p.m. on Jan. 22 - the day after his Norwood appearance.

Those who bought advance copies of the book from any Media Play store - about 150 - were guaranteed first place in line. All others can queue up - even those who got their books elsewhere - on a first-come, first-served basis.

"We've already heard that people are planning on camping out," store manager Dave McCann said. "We're going to open at 6 a.m. so people won't freeze."

Things were a bit quieter Thursday at Barnes & Noble at Newport on the Levee. There was a short stack of Rose's book at the information desk and 11 were displayed on an end cap on the second floor. By 2 p.m. Thursday, 10 had sold - or about a quarter of the stock.

"I'll read it," said bookseller Nita Thomas, 56, "out of curiosity. I'm from here."

Like many in town, Thomas doesn't think Rose should be reinstated into Major League Baseball, but should be in the Hall of Fame.

"The Hall isn't full of saints," she said.


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