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Eager readers empty stores of long-awaited 'Scarlett'


Lunchtime at Baltimore's financial district found Joe Carcio rushing into Gordon's Booksellers to snatch up "Scarlett," the much-hyped sequel to "Gone With the Wind."

The 823-page book wasn't for him, he explained, but for his wife as a belated birthday gift.

Fan or no fan, he was one of the luckier -- and faster -- ones to pick up Alexandra Ripley's "Scarlett," released yesterday by Warner Books in hardbound and retailing at $24.95. Books were snapped up as quickly as they were put up. Area stores reported waiting lists and telephone inquiries as soon as they opened their doors. Many of the stores are expecting more shipments this week.

"I didn't expect people to wait in line, but I expected it to be busy," said Debora Kick, buyer for Gordon's Booksellers. "I've been doing this for 11 years and this is the most demanded and most hyped."

A spokeswoman for New York-based Warner Books said the publishing house has emptied its warehouse of the books. "We're shipping them as fast as we can," said Patricia Kiem, an associate publicist.

Encore Books at Calvert and Lombard reserved or sold their 20 books by lunchtime. "Some guy bought seven books," said Chris Fennell, a clerk. "I asked him why, but he was pretty mysterious about it.

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