On foot several blocks away and with only minutes remaining before the Northshire Bookstore’s scheduled opening Monday, Teri Morrow wasn’t leaving anything to chance.
The city resident figured tickets for former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book signing later this month would go fast and that she might not have enough hustle to get there while some were still left.
At a red light, she politely knocked on a random motorist’s window and asked if she could get a lift down to the store.
Hitching a ride turned out to be overkill: Morrow easily nabbed two copies of Clinton’s memoir, “Hard Choices,” after waiting in line for only about five minutes. But that didn’t diminish her enthusiasm to see the first lady-turned-New York senator-turned-member of the Obama cabinet.
“I think she’s very Machiavellian,” Morrow said outside the bookstore. “My god, she’s done a lot in her life. She’s an impressive person.”
Only 1,000 tickets were available for the signing and they were going fast Monday morning. A crowd of roughly three dozen people was waiting outside the Broadway entrance to purchase the book to receive the complimentary ticket.
Within the first hour of business, Northshire had already sold 200 copies of the political memoir, which has been at the top of the New York Times best-seller list. By later afternoon, 500 more copies had been sold.
The event will be tightly controlled. Customers must have a ticket, wristband and Clinton’s book to enter onto the line; there’s also a limit of one signature per customer, with no personalization.
People attending the signing won’t be allowed to pose for pictures with Clinton, but can take a photograph from a designated area in the store. And no bags or personal items will be allowed in the event space.
Though Clinton is no stranger to Saratoga Springs — she made several appearances as the state’s junior senator and again as head of the State Department — her visit this time around comes as she’s the presumptive favorite to run for president on the Democratic ticket in 2016. A Quinnipiac University National Poll conducted last week found that 58 percent of Democrat or Democratic-leaning voters would select her in a primary over U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Vice President Joe Biden and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Clinton was also given the edge over potential Republican candidates. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — both trailing Clinton by seven percentage points — were the closest potential GOP rivals, according to the poll.
No doubt, Clinton’s chances at becoming the nation’s first female commander-in-chief resonated with Northshire customers rushing to the store after it publicly announced her book signing Monday morning. Joan Malone of East Greenbush bought a pair of the books for her adult sons, one of whom is Phillip Malone, a Democratic candidate for the state’s 107th Assembly District this fall.
“It’s very exciting” she said. “She could be our next president.”
Clinton, who still hasn’t indicated whether she’ll run for the Oval Office, launched her memoir with a flurry of signings last month. Many of her large-city signings drew large crowds, including at a Barnes & Noble in New York City, where customers lined up more than eight hours in advance of her appearance.
Since the book’s release June 10, Clinton has done signings from coast to coast. Some media pundits have already likened the events to a thinly-veiled trial run for her presidential campaign.
But if “Hard Choices” is a precursor, Clinton might want to consider retooling her strategy. A Boston Globe reviewer described it as “a book that is destined to be purchased but not read, a volume given but not opened.”
“It may even sell a lot of copies, but only because a good number of people may be willing to spend $35 for the privilege of joining the queue at Costco for a brisk hello and an India-ink autograph on the title page,” wrote Globe reviewer David Shribman last month.
Indeed, customers at Northshire seemed more intrigued about the prospect of meeting Clinton than the content of her memoir. Amy Marlette of Ballston Spa purchased one copy when the store first opened, only to venture back an hour later for second — a copy so her wife could also meet Clinton.
“I’ll probably have to come back for two more books later,” she said, alluding to a pair of family members who she predicted will also want to see Clinton.
For Sue Paciola of Broadablin, the book was an impulse buy. She was browsing through Northshire when she heard about Clinton’s forthcoming appearance.
“But I’d also like to see what she has to offer,” she said of the book.