City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP

What draws a crowd for a book signing?

The Carter Presidential Library and Museum theater was full last night. People were sitting on the floor, leaning against the walls and filing into the overflow area,  good-natured all through the night.


Owen's book.

All this for a discussion about books,”Green Metropolis” and “Confessions of a Radical Industrialist,” for a local public radio show.

I know why I was there — because my first order of business upon moving to Atlanta was getting a library card, because my great disappointment with the Kindle is that there’s no good place for an author to sign, because new books smell yummy, etc.

But why the draw? Even author David Owen mentioned that he has led book events where nobody showed up. I’ve been to readings where it’s me, a book seller, an author, a plate of butter cookies and a stack of unopened books.

I see a few possibilities.

1) Knowing that you could be there for a taping of WABE’s “Between the Lines.” All the thrill of being a public radio audience, none of the expense of “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” tickets. (Worth it! Section C, Row S, Seat 132. Come say hi.)

2) Spending time at the fancy new Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, which is far prettier and more entertaining than the words “presidential library and museum” suggest. To the fellow deliberating over the selection of ties in the gift shop: I know you weren’t just there for the books.


Anderson's book.

3) Listening to David Owen, author of “Green Metropolis,” and Ray C. Anderson, the Georgia Tech grad, Interface founder and author of “Confessions of a Radical Industrialist,” while they dished on sustainability and made playful jabs about whose book is more green. The fleet of Toyota Priuses (Priusi?) filling the parking lot was not there by coincidence.

Whatever the reason, I’m thrilled.

Missed it? This episode of “Between the Lines” airs at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 on  90.1, WABE.

Want to go? The next Carter Presidential Library and Museum book event features author Michael Rosen, who will discuss and sign “What Else But Home: Seven Boys and an American Journey Between the Projects and the Penthouse.” 7 p.m. Nov. 23. Free. Carters Presidential Library Theater, 441 Freedom Parkway, Atlanta. 404-865-7100,

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12 comments Add your comment


November 16th, 2009
10:56 am

LMAO…man hating hags. Nice. I went to the King signing on Friday too. While there was a crowd of 300+ there when it started, the line moved so quickly that it wasn’t long before it dwindled to about 30. King was a fast signer and the B&N folks kept it moving. It was well organized, I think. I was surprised there were not more people there. Lots of extra wristbands appear to have gone unused. I saw a number of people go through twice with no wait.

My only complaint had to do with the attitudes of the cops that were there. It was a book signing for God sakes, not a meeting of world leaders. Lighten up and let us orderly book nerds enjoy the evening without you harassing us over meaningless stuff.


November 16th, 2009
9:48 am

I must say I have NEVER had a good experience at a book signing at the B&N @ Buckhead. The least few times I went there, the staff [ahem] managing the book signing crowd were clearly all man-hating hags with SERIOUS issues against men. Unless it is an author I am just dying to meet, I will not return there.