Last November, throngs of people gathered outside New York City’s Jacob Javits Center in hopes of seeing the first American woman president. Ten months later, they’re still waiting.
What Happened, Hillary Clinton’s account of how she lost the 2016 US presidential election, comes out today from Simon & Schuster. Early reviews have focused on the tone of Clinton’s anger and regret, but that hasn’t dissuaded readers. The book spent three weeks as a top selling book on Amazon since it was made available for pre-order in late July.
For some Clinton fans, waiting for an Amazon delivery today doesn’t quite cut it. Since yesterday afternoon, people have been waiting outside a Barnes & Noble in Manhattan to buy their books and get it signed by Clinton herself.
The store said it would give out wristbands for the book signing on a first-come, first-serve basis starting 7am today. By that time there were around 250 people wrapped around one city block, by Quartz estimates. To get his place, the very first person in line got to the store at 3:30pm yesterday (Sept. 11).
“I wanted to play it safe,” says Brian Maisonette, 29. He didn’t sleep while he waited; he checked Facebook and watched the 1980s American TV show Golden Girls. His partner came to make sure he ate and to hold his place while he used the restroom.
“I’m just hoping that she’ll be taking some accountability as to why she lost and the things that she did wrong,” says Maisonette of the book. “I don’t want to hear her blaming too many people.”
Clinton sent a care package to her most die-hard fans in line: Last night two boxes appeared from Joe’s Pizza, which has a location a few blocks from Barnes & Noble. “They said it’s from ‘the secretary,'” says Stephanie Koch, the fourth woman in line. She joined at 5:30pm.
By 2am there were about 50 people in the line, according to a tweet from an overnighter. One woman said she’d been waiting in the line since 2:45am, but would pose no questions to the former secretary of state when she finally got her signature. “Not questions as much as ‘thank you,'” she says.
Maria Fernandez, a 39-year-old medical assistant, joined the line once it had started to move, a little after 7am. She said that what she wanted most for Clinton was that she not feel bad about her loss in the 2016 presidential race.
“Because she actually won. We people chose her,” says Fernandez. “She doesn’t have to explain to us [what happened]. Because we already know.”
This post has been updated.