Submitted for post by Lizabeth.
This is the info on the book signing Kate did tonight at the Barnes and Nobles in Grandville, Michigan. It was from 7 till 10 pm and the line apparently began at 4 pm. I got to the mall at 7:15 and met friends that had arrived at 7 pm. The Barnes and Nobles is in the middle of this mall, and the line snaked through the store, around some kiosks, then out to the clear other side of the entire mall. We were concerned about whispers that her books were running out, so one of my friends went to buy a couple of copies.
At around 8:30, as the line slowly progressed, they had Barnes and Nobles managers coming through the line to say Kate would stay as long as possible to get as many books signed as she could. We were excited, since it seemed that we may have the chance to see her up close, then also realized that she was doing the book signing in a front area, where you could easily see her at the doorway or through the glass 'walls' in front of the store.
Time passed and eventually (around 9:30) we were told by another manager that they were not sure how long Kate could stay. There were hundreds in line behind us still -- one person I stood near said she overheard that a Zondervan person was using a clicker to find out how many books were signed-- at that point it was 3,000! Not sure if that is accurate, but it seemed right according to the line and amount of people everywhere. In the end, though, as we approached the store they had to cut off the line and say Kate needed to leave This was shortly after 10 pm.
There were a few problems in the store that I noticed which attributed to the chaos. People were standing around in the aisles and outside the store with cameras and just looking. B & N employees were not prepared to handle the crowd either, so lots of people cut in and would scoot through without being told where the line actually ended. Another issue was just the sheer amount of people still in line- there was no physical way Kate could have signed everyone's book, even if she stayed till 2 am, so I can't blame them for that! I felt unsafe waiting in line as well when we got to the entrance of the store. When they announced she had to leave people pressed in to get pictures and try to get another look.
One really neat part was that each person who got their book signed was given a post it note to write down what they wanted Kate to inscribe (that way spelling is correct and the line can move faster). She personalized each book, which I thought was really neat even though it took so much longer than just scribbling her name! My friends and I wondered if that would continue at other signings, since they were also surprised she didn't have a stack of pre-signed books she was just handing out.
We were told by a B & N employee that this was her first book signing, besides one at a conference with 800 people. Zondervan is based out of Grand Rapids, and this is the biggest mall in the area, so that made sense. As I mentioned before, no one was prepared for the turn out, so I am sure it was completely overwhelming! My friends and I were shocked that the line was across half the mall, especially with it being a school night (as a side note there were many, many parents with young children there. One of my friends teaches young 5's and we discussed how being at a mall at 10 pm on a school night in the winter is not really a good idea for little ones!).
In the end it was a bummer not to officially meet her, but she seemed really nice- when the signing had to end she came out to the crowd and said Hi, then Thank You to the crowd. Security ushered her out, since it was definitely a packed house and I'm sure if I was nervous the way the line was that she felt the same way!
I attached a couple of pics-- my camera broke when I was there, so I wasn't able to get any better ones! Two are of Kate (as well as I could catch her before the camera croaked on me) then one is the crowd. As much as my friends and I were bummed that we didn't get our books signed tonight, we were really thrilled at the turn out. Tomorrow night she will be at a Baker Book House (a local Christian book store) so my friends took my book to get it signed for me since they will be trying again then (I have class or else I would be there too!).
12/11/08 Here is a link to an article that Lizabeth sent it from The Grand Rapids Press regarding the book signing.
Here is another link Lizabeth sent in with more pictures.