Well, the perks of being The Chief.
It looks like President Obama walked into a Martha’s Vineyard bookstore and walked out with Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, one of the most eagerly awaited novels in years. Only problem is, Freedom isn’t being released until August 31. Here’s an excerpt from the press pool report.
Local pooler Gayle Fee of the Boston Herald describes Bunch of Grapes as a “quaint” independent bookstore that would send books to former President Bill Clinton when he vacationed on the island back when.
Main Street was blocked off for the president’s visit. Hundred of people stood behind yellow police tape to get a glimpse of potus. Potus and the girls left at 11:40 am. Crowd cheered as they got into their car.
Potus carried two brown shopping bags.
An addendum to the pool report states that the book was Franzen’s upcoming novel.
White House Dossier called Bunch of Grapes and asked if they had the book for sale yet. Nope, not until Sept. 1, according to someone who answered the phone at the store. I asked how the president might have gotten one and was told he might have gotten an advance copy.
In an interview with the Cape Cod Times, bookstore owner Dawn Braasch said the store did indeed “give” Obama an advance copy. The pool report says it was purchased. UPDATE: The pooler has corrected the earlier report to state that the book was a gift.
Such copies, also known as “advanced reading copies,” are often provided to bookstores ahead of time so employees can read it and then be better able to sell it the day of release. They are not normally for sale.
Advance copies often still contain spelling and grammatical errors and may in other ways not be exactly like the book that hits the stands.
“I’m a huge fan, a huge admirer of his politics. I think he’s doing a fantastic job, given what he was dealt,” said a nearly weeping Braasch.
One of Braasch’s Bunch of Grapes employee told the Cape Cod Times that Obama purchased The Red Pony and To Kill a Mockingbird for the girls. The Red Pony was written in 1933 by John Steinbeck while Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was released in 1960, so presumably these were not pre-release items.
I guess a pre-release copy of either of those would be worth quite of pile of coin. And so might an advance copy of a book by an author like Franzen.
Franzen’s Freedom is the follow up to the wildly successful and critically acclaimed The Corrections, published in 2001.