A stack of reserved “Fire and Fury” books by writer Michael Wolff sit on a shelf in a bookstore in Richmond, Va., Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. The new book on President Donald Trump is drawn from what he said was regular access to the West Wing and more than 200 interviews, including some three hours with Trump himself. Steve Helber AP
A stack of reserved “Fire and Fury” books by writer Michael Wolff sit on a shelf in a bookstore in Richmond, Va., Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. The new book on President Donald Trump is drawn from what he said was regular access to the West Wing and more than 200 interviews, including some three hours with Trump himself. Steve Helber AP

Politics & Government

The controversial new book on President Trump is a page-turner, if you can find the pages

By David Menconi

dmenconi@newsobserver.com

January 05, 2018 12:30 PM

When the polarizing new book on the Trump White House blew up, Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books had just six copies of “Fire and Fury” on hand. Those were sold instantly, leaving Quail Ridge – and other Triangle booksellers – struggling to keep up with demand for author Michael Wolff’s controversial account of Donald Trump’s presidency.

“Only ordering six copies might have been dumb, but who knows what’s going to happen?” said Quail Ridge assistant floor manager Trish Coffey. “We did not know it would be all over every newscast, all day every day for days on end.”

Quail Ridge was expecting 50 copies (all of which are already presold) on Friday, and another 50 on Monday.

Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books was also waiting on a shipment Friday. So was Regulator Bookshop in Durham, where clerks were fielding a steady stream of inquiring phone calls – six in the first half-hour of business Friday morning.

A sign posted ot the door for Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe in Washington, D.C., indicating that the book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” is sold out at the bookstore Friday, Jan. 5, 2018.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

“Fire and Fury” originally was expected to appear in book stores next week. But after online excerpts triggered a political firestorm, the release date was moved up to Friday.

It’s been No. 1 on Amazon since Wednesday, based on pre-orders, flying off the electronic bookshelf onto Kindles and Nooks across the world. At Kramer Books in Washington, D.C., where hardback copies of “Fire and Fury” went on sale at midnight Thursday, reporters covering the event outnumbered buyers. Washington Post reporter Ben Terris live-tweeted the scene. The store sold all 73 copies in stock.

The books can’t be sold yet but they are being handed out to people in line (I can’t believe I am live tweeting this) pic.twitter.com/LkWUBHz1DV

— Ben Terris (@bterris) January 5, 2018

Early on, at least, positive reviews have far outweighed negative ones – although the conservative-leaning National Review brushed it off as “Much Ado about Nothing New.”

The Guardian called it “a toxic tale that singes all.” And Entertainment Weekly opined, “You’ll wish controversial Trump book was a work of fiction.”

But one of the most memorable summaries appears on Amazon, a one-star reader review by “keepwreckin” written in the garbled syntax of a computer bot:

DEAR COMRADE BUDDY

PLEASE DO NOT BE OF READING. VERY BAD.

YOURS TRULY

AMERICAN FRIEND NO1

David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi