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Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book signing at Watchung Booksellers Tuesday, Sept. 26. PHOTO BY NEIL GRABOWSKY

By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

The lines for the event stretched well out the door and down the block, and it was likely the first book signing that required security sweeps from the Secret Service.

Hillary Clinton came to Watchung Booksellers last Tuesday as part of her book signing tour for “What Happened,” her account of the 2016 presidential election. Margot Sage-EL, the owner of Watchung Booksellers, said on Wednesday, the day after the signing, that it had been a great success.

The bookstore has had massive off-site events before; as an example, Sage-EL said that Trevor Noah’s appearance at the Montclair Literary Festival this spring for “Born A Crime” was very well-attended. But she said Clinton’s appearance at the bookstore was the largest on-site event that Watchung Booksellers has held.

The tickets for the event went on sale in August and all 1,000 tickets for the signing sold out within an hour. The purchase of a ticket included the book.

Sage-EL said that the publishers, Simon and Schuster, had originally thought about making additional copies available for purchase. But after the signing sold out so quickly, Sage-EL said, the publishers decided to limit the available supply of books to one copy of “What Happened” per customer. However, customers were allowed to buy Clinton’s book for children, “It Takes a Village.”

Just inside the door, customers passed through Secret Service screening and were quickly moved through the store toward the back, where Clinton sat. It was close to 8:30 p.m. when the last stretch of the line started to move through.

Around 9 p.m., Clinton posed for a few final photos with the bookstore staff before departing, Sage-EL said.

Sage-EL said that the bookstore wanted to thank the Montclair Police Department, the Secret Service and other security details, and the publisher for working with the shop.

“As the saying goes, it takes a village and last night was that!” she said in a posting on Watchung Booksellers’ Facebook page on Wednesday.