Update: An editor at Little, Brown, the publisher of The New American Haggadah, emailed me today to say that, although the first print run “quickly” sold out, the haggadah should (thanks to “two large reprints”) be back on virtual and actual shelves in time for Passover. So fret not.
In recent days, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble’s online arm and other web-based booksellers have experienced shortages of The New American Haggadah, a new version of the text used by Jews at Passover published at the beginning of this month.
The new volume, edited by Jewish American novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, was on backorder until March 24 at Amazon.com at the time of this post. BarnesandNoble.com, which had been sold out of the Haggadah a day ago, had it listed as available for shipping “within 24 hours.”
Book Soup, a brick-and-mortar bookseller on Sunset Boulevard, had the haggadah listed as the ninth-best-selling nonfiction hardcover title during the week of March 12-18.
The book’s brisk sales could perhaps have been predicted. Safran Foer seemed to be featured on every media, occasionally accompanied by fellow novelist Nathan Englander, who contributed a new translation of the Hebrew text to the new volume. Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for the Atlantic, managed to get a copy into the hands of President Obama (even if POTUS wouldn’t agree to use it at the White House seder.
But the single-most important reason the New American Haggadah appears to be selling rapidly could be the one identified by comedian and TV host Stephen Colbert earlier this month.
When Foer appeared on The Colbert Report, he told Colbert that customarily, every person around a Seder table will have his or her own copy of the haggadah text.
“Cha-ching,” Colbert said.