Philly-area bookstores sold out of 'Fire and Fury' Trump book within hours of opening Friday morning

Trump Book
A salesperson rings up a copy of the book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" by Michael Wolff at a Barnes & Noble store in Philadelphia, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018.

Want a copy of the juicy, tell-all book about the Trump White House? Get in line.

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, the explosive new book by journalist Michael Wolff that has the White House and Washington in a tizzy, was shipped to bookstores nationwide four days early after excerpts captured headlines this week. And copies of the book are flying off shelves in the Philadelphia area.

The Rittenhouse Square branch of Barnes & Noble, at 1805 Walnut St., sold out by 10 a.m. Friday, just an hour after doors opened, according to a book seller. The clerk, who wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak about orders, wouldn’t say how many copies sold. But the employee did say the store is expecting to get more copies next week, when publication was originally scheduled.

Fire and Fury was supposed to drop into bookstores nationwide on Tuesday, but Wolff and his publisher, Henry Holt & Co., announced Thursday the release date would advance to Friday. That was after they were reportedly served a cease-and-desist letter from an attorney representing the president.

No local bookstores contacted Friday morning had any hardcover copies of Fire and Fury available, though an employee at the Barnes & Noble at Eastgate Square in Moorestown said the store was expecting to receive its first shipment Friday afternoon. The employee said the delay was likely due to the snowstorm, and added that though the store requested 32 copies, he was unsure if it would actually receive that many.

The Barnes & Noble at the Lawrence Park Shopping Center in Broomall also sold out by 10:30 a.m. Friday, a clerk said, though the employee would not disclose how many copies were sold, saying only the store had “maybe a handful.” She said she was unsure when the store would receive additional copies. Meanwhile, the Barnes & Noble in the Metroplex shopping center in Plymouth Meeting also sold out Friday morning, while the location at the Willow Grove Shopping Center didn’t receive any copies Friday.

Barnes & Noble locations in Bensalem, Valley Forge, and Wilmington also didn’t have the book in stock, according to the company.

Independent bookstores in the city may have copies of Fire and Fury available by next week. Becky Matheson, a book seller at Joseph Fox Bookshop, at 1724 Sansom St., said the store is taking hold requests from customers and is expecting a shipment of the book to arrive Monday. An employee at Head House Books, 619 S. Second St., said the store has 20 copies on order and is expecting the books to arrive by Monday.

The mad rush to get a copy of the exposé was most evident in Washington, where dozens of people lined up at Kramerbooks just before midnight Thursday night to get their hands on a copy in a scene reminiscent of much-awaited Harry Potter book releases, according to the Washington Post. In New York City, Barnes & Noble stores fielded calls from customers wanting to purchase the book, though the “bomb cyclone” prevented shipments city-wide, Newsweek reported.

Camera icon (Nathan Congleton/NBC Universal via AP)
Savannah Guthrie interviewing Michael Wolff on “Today” on Friday.  Wolff, author of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” defended his reporting and said the president’s efforts to halt publication had been good for sales.

As of Friday morning, the hardcover version was No. 1 on Amazon’s bestseller chart and the audio CD was at No. 3. Anyone can pre-order the hardcover version of Fire and Fury via Amazon, but it won’t ship for “two to four weeks,” though the Kindle version (selling for $14.99) is available for download now. On Barnes & Noble’s website, the hardcover is “temporarily unavailable” and shows to be unavailable for shipment until Wednesday, but a copy can be pre-ordered there, as well.

Revelations from Wolff’s book, which documented the first nine months of President Trump’s time in the White House, have dominated headlines since excerpts were published this week in the Guardian, GQ, and New York Magazine. The book portrays a White House in chaos, and among its depictions are quotes attributed to former chief strategist Steve Bannon that ignited a public feud between him and the president. Besides calling a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump officials and a Russian lawyer “treasonous,” Bannon also apparently told Wolff, “They’re going to crack Don Jr. like an egg on national TV,” referring to Trump’s son, who was reportedly in that pre-election meeting.

President Trump released a statement in response, publicly breaking with Bannon and saying he had “lost his mind.” On Thursday night, the president called Bannon “Sloppy Steve” in a tweet that also said the book was “full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the book is “a complete fantasy.”

Wolff — who’s been accused before of embellishing — has defended the book against attacks from the White House, telling NBC’s Today he stands by “absolutely everything.” Nevertheless, the book has sparked a debate as some wonder about the accuracy of the anecdotes, only some of which have been publicly corroborated. Ex-Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg confirmed his comments, telling ABC News on Friday that he “certainly, probably” called Trump an “idiot” in a conversation with Bannon, though he says Trump is actually “by no means an idiot at all.”

The book is full of other gossipy tidbits, including that top Trump aides question the president’s intelligence, that Ivanka Trump may or may not make fun of her father’s comb-over, and that Trump eats at McDonald’s partially due to a fear of being poisoned.

Wolff is expected to talk about his book at the Free Library of Philadelphia  Jan. 16 in a conversation with political columnist Dick Polman.

Know of a store in the region where “Fire and Fury” is available? Let us know.