Yesterday at 4:52 p.m., Book Culture announced that it had 100 copies of Charlie Hebdo, which it would be selling at its Columbus Avenue store. At 6:47 p.m., the store Tweeted, "Down to 40 copies of Charlie Hebdo at #BooKCultureOnColumbus. If you want one, better break out the umbrella!"
The issue of the satirical French newspaper was the first to be published since the horrifying massacre at the paper's Paris office on January 7th, leaving 11 people dead, including cartoonists, writers, police officers and a building worker. Book Culture had been on a wait list for issues—it received two display copies on Friday—and sent an email to those on its customer mailing list on Sunday at 6 p.m.:
We wanted to let you know that this afternoon, Book Culture on Columbus received 100 copies of the new issue of Charlie Hebdo. We are not sure if or when we will receive more, so please stop in soon to get a copy. We are selling them at cost on a first come, first serve basis. We must limit them to 1 per customer, and we ask that you not attempt to resell the issues online. They come to us with the help of AirFrance, Uni Presse, and Bayard Press.
Book Culture owner Chris Doeblin told CBS News, "It's not something that we're going to profit on in the sense that we're going to sell the magazine and make money off of it. But it's not a business decision. It's a decision to stand up for the right to free speech."
— Book Culture (@bookculture) January 18, 2015
WNYC spotted two police officers outside the Columbus Avenue store:
Manager Elizabeth Bogner told WNYC that after the store put up "Je suis Charlie" signs in the window, "We've had customers popping their heads in just to say, 'I'm really glad to see this.'"
By 7:29 p.m., the Book Culture Tweeted, "And that's a wrap! We are SOLD OUT!" In an email to customers, the store said, "In just a few short hours today, we sold out of the new issue of Charlie Hebdo. We will be in touch as soon as we know if and when we will have more copies available. In the meantime, we hope those who bought Charlie Hebdo today will share with friends and family. We also invite you stop by Book Culture on Columbus to take a look at our display copy."
Today, a salesperson at the store said that they have requested more copies but are "not 100% sure" if they'll get them.