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Panel's '9/11 Report' Becoming a Big Seller
Published on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 by USA TODAY
Panel's '9/11 Report' Becoming a Big Seller
by Bob Minzesheimer

The latest political best seller weighs in at 567 pages, 117 of which are footnotes.

The 9/11 Commission Report, released Thursday, is selling so briskly that its publisher announced a second printing Monday.

W.W. Norton, which published the $10 paperback in cooperation with the bipartisan federal panel that investigated the 2001 terrorist attacks, estimates it sold 350,000 copies through Sunday.

With bookstores from Portland, Ore., to Washington, D.C., out of stock, Norton says it's printing another 200,000 copies in addition to the 600,000-copy first printing.

That's short of the 400,000-copy first-day sales reported for Bill Clinton's My Life but unprecedented for a government report. It's selling faster than The Starr Report from Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated Clinton in 1998. It briefly topped the best-seller lists in 1998.

The 9/11 Report "is flying out of our stores," says Barnes & Noble's Bob Wietrak, who adds that he can't think of another book "that affects so many Americans. All the other books (on 9/11) told pieces of the story. This is the story."

Borders' Jenie Dahlmann says the bipartisan nature of the commission, which spent 19 months investigating intelligence failures and what could be done about them, "appeals to everyone, Democrats and Republicans."

Both Wietrak and Dahlmann expect sales will slow, but they say the report could remain a best seller given interest in the election and in whether the commission's recommendations are followed.

In a rare arrangement between a commercial publisher and the government, the commission chose Norton as its authorized publisher. No money was exchanged.

Norton spokeswoman Louise Brockett says the publisher hopes to recover its costs.

But if there is any profit from the book, which won't be known for months, she expects that "we'll make a donation of some sort."

She notes that the commission's chairman, Republican Thomas Kean, a former New Jersey governor, said last spring that "our mandate requires the commission to report to the president and the Congress. Our report, ultimately, is for the American people. We want the public to read the commission's findings, evaluate its recommendations, and engage in a dialogue on how to improve our nation's security."

The report also can be downloaded free at

© Copyright 2004 USA TODAY


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