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Di books selling out at stores across the country

September 2, 1997

BOSTON (AP) _ When Waldenbooks employee Susan Willett heard the news of Princess Diana’s death Sunday morning, she knew exactly what to do: pull the Di books off the shelves and arrange them into a prominent display.

``It didn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out they were going to go right out the door,″ Willett said.

By closing time Sunday, the Swampscott bookstore _ like many around the country _ had all but sold out of Di-related items.

Margie Baldwin, a legal secretary in Boston, found that Lauriat’s bookstore in Boston had just sold its last Di item Tuesday morning.

``I just got the last book in the store,″ said the woman who beat Baldwin to the last copy of a popular biography. ``I’m psyched.″

Among the more than 15 titles about Diana alone, none was more sought-after than the two-volume biography by former tabloid reporter Andrew Morton. His first volume, ``Diana: Her True Story,″ revealed the princess’ bulimia and suicide attempts.

Victoria Meyer, a publicity director for Simon & Schuster, said the publishing house is reprinting 500,000 copies of that book and ``Diana: Her New Life,″ the second volume of Morton’s biography.

The reprints, which will include no changes in content, could be ready for shipment to stores by week’s end, Meyer said.

Simon & Schuster is also working on a commemorative edition of ``Diana: Her True Story,″ with a new introduction by Morton and an updated photo section.

Ingram Book Co., a distributor in LaVergne, Tenn., has been flooded with requests for additional books from sold-out stores.

``I just got out of a meeting thinking, `If I don’t get out of here, we’re never going to have any Diana books ordered,‴ said Susie Russenberger, an assistant vice president.

Several books that were planned for release in the fall before Diana’s death will have even greater demand, Russenberger said. And ``instant″ books prompted by Sunday’s car crash are probably also in the works.

At many of the 175 stores of Borders Books, customers have been requesting copies of British newspapers in addition to the coveted biographies and magazines.

``We’ve put everything on order,″ spokeswoman Jody Kohn said. ``Almost everything’s gone.″

As prominent a celebrity as Di was, the reaction to her death still surprised some in the business.

``I’ve seen people scramble for books,″ said Karen Boroff, acting manager of a B Dalton in Peabody. ``But this just caught me absolutely unaware.″

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