Area bookstores are reporting brisk sales of the biography of Nancy Reagan - the former first lady who advised Americans to "Just Say No" but who may have not practiced what she preached.

"Face it, dirt sells. The media helps sell a book like that," said Linda Good, district manager for Waldenbooks. "Anytime it's publicized in the press and has a scandalous tone to it, it picks up in popularity."Good said as soon as copies of the book - "Nancy Reagan: the Unauthorized Biography" by Kitty Kelley - arrived at Waldenbooks on Tuesday, cash registers began ringing.

"It's highly requested," she said of the much-publicized book, claiming Nancy Reagan had an affair with Frank Sinatra, smoked pot with her husband while he was California governor, and physically and mentally abused her children.

"The best thing I could say about Mrs. Reagan is she was a good president," the book's author said this week while on the promotion circuit.

Kelly's been chastised by Ronald Reagan for "flagrant and absurd falsehoods" in the book, which also discusses his infidelity and his consultations with astrologers before making presidential decisions.

But the author's been bitterly attacked before - over earlier biographies of Sinatra and Jacqueline Onassis.

The criticism of Kelly isn't hurting sales.

B Dalton Bookseller in Crossroads Plaza got the book in Tuesday afternoon and within 30 minutes had sold two copies at 25 percent off the $24.95 retail price as a promotion gimmick.The memoirs by Ronald Reagan also sells for $24.95 but hasn't garnered the same interest. Why?

"I think it's the gossip factor. It has gotten a lot of press and it seems like there's a lot of juicy gossip in it - and people like that," said Stuart Graves, manager of the Crossroads' B Dalton Bookseller.

Graves' store received an initial shipment of 32 copies of the unauthorized biography and Tuesday, he immediately requested more.

"But the distributor said we would have to wait for a second printing," he said. "It will be a week or two before we get anymore."

Employees of Deseret Book and Sam Weller's book stores reported a "few calls" Tuesday morning but said interest was not unusually high.

Good anticipates "Nancy Reagan" will "be really popular for a few months" like other hyped books.

"Then it will die off," she said.