“That’s what I’m wondering,” said Doug Pressler, 54, as he stood in line on Tuesday to have (a smiling) Mr. Trump sign a copy of the new book on its inaugural day. “Why have that?”

“I was a little surprised by it,” Mr. Pressler said. “The only possible reason I can think of is to show that America is, like the book says, crippled.”

Others were charmed. John Canary called it a welcome break from the predictable book cover shot. “Every other candidate smiles,” he said, waiting in line to meet Mr. Trump.

He admired Mr. Trump for the candor of his facial expression, adding: “It’s just a nice scowl. It’s a very well-composed picture.”