Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Hit King hits town, pen in hand

Today's book signing sold out; for remaining autographs, you'll have to hustle

By John Erardi
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The circus comes to town today. The Pete Rose book-selling circus.

The Hit King has taken his share of hits in the national media for hawking a book that reveals - after 14 years of public denials - that he indeed did bet on baseball.

But that hasn't slowed him down.

He will sign at least 1,100 copies of My Prison Without Bars from 6-8 p.m. today at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Norwood, and then sign the same number from noon-2 p.m. Thursday at Media Play in Western Hills.

Tonight's book signing at Joseph-Beth already is sold out.

The interesting thing about the book signing at Media Play Thursday is that only the 113 people who bought pre-sale vouchers for the book before its Jan. 8 release date and were promised Rose's autograph, will get it. Those people who purchased the next 987 books - in other words, on or after the day the book came out - were promised nothing. And they will get just that if they don't get to the store early enough to be among the first 1,100 book-holders in line. It could make for some brisk Thursday morning sales on the west side, where Rose was born and raised.

The early birds will get Rose's autograph in their book. "Hundreds of people will be camping out," predicted Dave McCann, the store's general manager. "We expect it to be a zoo here Thursday - but it will be a structured zoo. We are ready to go."

Joseph-Beth is expecting 2,000 to 2,500 people tonight, even though only the 1,100 who already have line numbers are assured of Rose's autograph.

"We stopped giving out event tickets two weeks ago," said Sarah Hall, public relations and events coordinator at Joseph-Beth, Norwood.

Media Play said it is expecting at least 2,000 people at its Western Hills store.

Rose still a hit with the books

Pete Rose can't hustle any more hits, but he can still hustle the books. Pete Rose's new book, My Prison Without Bars, is holding steady on best-seller lists; it's No. 5 on Barnes & Noble's, No. 7 on Dayton's Books & Co.'s and No. 31 on USA Today's.

Those are all slight drops - actually, a bit more than slight in the case of USA Today, which had it ranked No. 18 in the first week of its release (Jan. 8). But representatives of each business said they see nothing to indicate the book is fading.

"It's still going strong," USA Today's Jacqueline Blais said.

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