NEW YORK – Wristbands, like those used for ticket-buyers at rock concerts, for the first 250 fans. A summer-long tour of major American cities. A little "magic" expected to attract bigger crowds.
Welcome to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (search) 2003 book tour.
The host of the tour's inaugural signing event for Clinton's Living History, a Barnes & Noble in midtown Manhattan, is counting on heavy crowds Monday.
Store managers will distribute wristbands to the first 250 people seeking autographed copies of the senator's book, in order to make sure everyone in line has a copy.
Even before a single copy has been sold, the company's vice president of marketing, Bob Wietrack, predicted the memoir of Clinton's time in the White House will be the chain's No. 1 nonfiction book of the year.
Simon & Schuster (search), which agreed to pay Clinton $8 million, has printed an astounding 1 million copies, betting on major interest in her account of her husband's two presidential terms.
In the book, she revisits the public and private wreckage from her husband's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky (search). She concludes that what her husband did was morally wrong but not a betrayal of the public.
Dorothy Evans, a bookseller at Waldenbooks in downtown Chicago, said she's already seen "tons of interest" from customers.
"It's not even out yet, and there's already a lot of people asking for it," said Evans.
Wietrack believes there will be "a giant two or three week pop" of sales as Clinton shows up all over broadcast and in print promoting the book.
Barbara Walters interviewed the senator for a Sunday segment on ABC, in which Clinton said her marriage has "been tried and tested and we are at the point now that we're looking forward ... I hope that we'll grow old together."
Other TV appearances will follow later in the week on NBC and CNN.
Time magazine is running excerpts from the book and an interview with Clinton. In the interview, she is asked if she plans to run for president in 2008, and answers: "I have no intention of running for president."
A new ABC poll found that 53 percent of Americans don't want the former first lady to ever run for president. The same poll found Americans are still highly divided about her, with 44 percent expressing a favorable opinion and 48 percent viewing her unfavorably.
Many in the industry believe the Harry hysteria will generate additional sales for Clinton by drawing more parents into stores. Scholastic Inc., the American publisher of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, has planned a $3 million to $4 million marketing campaign, and commissioned a record 8.5 million copies.
"Customers are going to come in buying Harry Potter, and what we've seen in the past is that those crowds also buy books for themselves," said Wietrack.
After Monday's New York event, Clinton will have two other signings during the week in Washington, before she heads to her New York home of suburban Chappaqua for a weekend appearance.
During the summer, she will sandwich more book-signing visits in between her Senate work schedule, but Simon & Schuster spokeswoman Victoria Meyer said the company is not releasing the tour itinerary for logistical and security reasons.
"It's fair to say it will be all parts of the country," Meyer said.