Last weekend, to draw attention to Small Business Saturday, President Obama visited Kramerbooks at Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle with his daughters Sasha and Malia, where their purchases included The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever and Descent into Chaos: The U.S. and the Disaster in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, according to AP reports. The Tip Sheet spoke with manager Scott Abel about the Browser-in-Chief’s stop-in.
What happens when the U.S. President visits the store? Are arrangements made in advance?
No, nothing happens in advance, they keep everything hush-hush. We didn’t know anything about it. I wasn’t here, but from what I heard the people that were in the store stayed around, they were pretty excited. I know some of the staff were excited to meet him, some of the cooks and the bartenders who work here too [at the adjoining Afterwords Café & Grill].
Have any presidents visited Kramerbooks before? Got any politicians among your regulars?
Not that I’m aware of. We get in a lot of heads of state, but I don’t think Obama had made it in before, and I don’t think President Bush ever made it here, but that’s as far back as I go.
Are books by politicians big sellers in D.C.?
They can be, but not all of them. Some of the members of the House, even the people running for president right now, they’re all pretty mediocre as far as sales are concerned. The Cheneys and the Hillarys have a lot of followers, and the Obama books [Dreams of my Father, The Audacity of Hope] always sells well here. This last Ron Suskind book [Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President] was a pretty big seller for us. And the books over the summer did well, Condi’s book [No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington], and former justice John Paul Stevens’s [Five Chiefs: A Supreme Court Memoir].