Hunter Thompson issues roll off sales racks
Rolling Stone isn’t gathering any moss in Aspen this month.A special edition of Rolling Stone magazine featuring the late gonzo journalist and Woody Creek resident Hunter S. Thompson is flying off local newsstands. Of the four places in town where the magazines can be purchased, managers say they’ve been surprised about the popularity of the issue.Thompson died Feb. 20 on his Woody Creek Ranch from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.The magazine features 33 pages dedicated to the legendary author who was on its masthead for nearly four decades. Rolling Stone published Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” in two parts in 1971. This issue includes tributes from the magazine’s staffers to his closest friends and family.At Carl’s Pharmacy, typically just three to four issues of the magazine are delivered each month. But Manager Cindi Fielder said on Friday she knew it would be a popular edition when she started receiving calls about it the day before it arrived in the store.”I asked our distributor to make sure they sent at least 25,” she said. “I didn’t realize how popular it would be until I sold out of all of those.”So Fielder reordered 150 copies, which were all purchased, and then 48 more copies, which also disappeared quickly. As of Friday afternoon, Fielder had a significant stack of the magazines on the rack – part of a reorder of 150 more copies. When Carl’s realized how popular the magazine was, a sign was placed on the front door with a photo of the magazine and the text: “We have the Rolling Stone.” “Everyone is buying this – locals and visitors,” Fielder said. “I think his reputation supersedes this town. People are buying four or five copies at a time – normally Rolling Stone isn’t that big of a mover.”But she noted that when any national magazine has an article with local ties – like a feature on Aspen in Vanity Fair a couple of years ago – its popularity skyrockets in town.”It’s been great for us since it brings people into the store,” she said.Bookseller Mark Billingsley at Explore Booksellers said the store’s distributor failed it by being late with delivery while customers were asking for the magazine in the store every day. Now that the problem has been remedied, the shop has sold between 30 and 40 issues, compared to fewer than 10 in a normal month.Tony Welgos, manager of Clark’s Market in Aspen, said simply “It’s gone” when asked if he had any of the issues. He later added that he has stashed one copy away for “someone who’s really desperate.”At City Market, customer relations manager Sue Harper said she wasn’t sure how many copies the store has sold, but she said there was a time when the store had sold out, before the vendor restocked the shelves.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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