Newsstands from Seattle to New York quickly sold out of yesterday’s papers declaring Barack Obama the nation’s first black president, as some jubilant customers picked up two, three or even 30 copies as keepsakes.
The Baltimore Sun, The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune in Obama’s hometown were among papers that restarted their printing presses to produce hundreds of thousands of additional copies across the country.
Entrepreneurs were seeking as much as $200 for the Times on eBay yesterday.
[The Times carries a large ad in its print edition today offering the issue for sale at $14.95.]
“Own a piece of history,” Walter Elliott said as he hawked 90 copies of The Sun from a Baltimore street corner.
An extra 45,000 copies of yesterday’s Sun, featuring news from Election Day, will be available today.
The reprints of the final edition of yesterday’s newspaper will be for sale at retail stores and by street vendors at its regular daily price today. It will include all sections in color, except for the You section, which will be in black and white, according to Judy Berman, senior vice president of marketing.
Additionally, extra copies of yesterday’s newspaper were being redistributed around the circulation area because it has sold out in some locations.
Some papers devoted their entire front pages to a single photo of Obama – in the San Francisco Chronicle’s case, overlaid with “OBAMA” in enormous type and a snippet from his acceptance speech: “Change has come to America.” USA Today declared, “America makes history.”
The Plain Dealer in Cleveland offered high-quality reprints of the front page for $54.95.
Below the headline “Change Has Come,” a close-up of Obama covers three-fourths of the page.
John Penley, a white man who recalled drinking out of the “wrong” water fountain as a kid in North Carolina, searched New York’s Lower East Side yesterday for papers to mark an event he never dreamed possible in his lifetime.
“There was one copy left at the bodega around the corner, and people were actually fighting for it,” said Penley, a retired photojournalist.
“I can’t find a copy of any paper anywhere.”
At New York’s Port Authority bus terminal, Ralston Montaque grabbed 30 copies of the Times for family and friends.
“Everybody has to read [the news], brother,” he said.
Say what you want about the Internet replacing printed newspapers, but saving a copy of a Web page on a disk isn’t the same.
“What it really shows is there’s a unique value to print,” said Steve Hills, The Washington Post’s president and general manager.
“It’s the ability to look at the whole thing and have a piece of history in your hands.”
A newsstand in Evanston, Ill., sold 100 copies of the Times in 10 minutes – even as the major local papers, the Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, rushed to print hundreds of thousands of extra copies.
A convenience store in Mineola, N.Y., saw many new faces.
“I never saw papers sold with such a spirit,” said Kirit Patel, who operates the store.
“I saw some customers who never buy a paper, but today they bought two copies. They were asking for more papers.”