Saying they are disgusted by O.J. Simpson's new book, "If I Did It," set to go on sale nationally Nov. 30, some California booksellers say they will refuse to stock the book and, if customers ask them to order it, will donate any profit.
Some said they feel duped: As is customary with sensational titles, the book's publisher, ReganBooks, an imprint of HarperCollins, solicited bookstore orders with the promise that the book would gain national attention, but the title, subject matter and author were withheld.
Doug Dutton, owner of Dutton's Brentwood Bookstore, near the condo where Nicole Brown Simpson lived and was murdered with her friend Ronald Lyle Goldman, said the book and a promotional two-night TV interview were disturbing.
"To me, it's not a book; it's like a program for a staged media event that's happening over two nights on television," Dutton said. "I feel almost used by it." His store won't stock or display the book but will order it on request. He said he expects to donate any profit.
A representative of Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena said the store would donate any profit from sales to the Nicole Brown Foundation. Eso Won Books in Leimert Park, considered L.A.'s premier black bookstore, will stock it, but co-owner James Fugate considers the book "the biggest mistake I've ever heard of in publishing."
The Northern California Independent Booksellers Assn., which represents 240 bookstores, e-mailed its members Friday suggesting that those with qualms about profiting donate the money to a battered women's or domestic violence charity. So far, about a dozen booksellers have responded that they plan to do so, said the group's executive director, Hut Landon.
"It's a form of protest, but it's a more positive thing than saying were not going to sell the book, period," he said.
Meanwhile, retail giants Wal-Mart, Borders and Barnes & Noble are expecting strong sales and plan to stock the book accordingly. "The ultimate factor in the decision to carry this title is that we think our customers will want it," read a statement issued by Wal-Mart on Friday.
But the Associated Press reported late Friday that a Borders spokeswoman said that there would be no special promotions and that any profit would be donated to a charity that benefits victims of domestic violence.
Barnes & Noble told AP that there were no donation plans.
The Goldman family, meanwhile, has launched an online petition at www.dontpayoj.com, urging people to sign a petition denouncing the people who profit from the book. By Friday evening, there were more than 10,000 names on the petition.
The two-part interview of Simpson, conducted by publisher Judith Regan, is scheduled to air on Fox Broadcasting on Nov. 27 and Nov. 29, before the book is released. As of Friday evening, orders for the book had pushed it to No. 21 on Amazon.com.
In the book, according to the publisher's release, Simpson speculates about how he would have killed his ex-wife and Goldman. Simpson was acquitted of murder charges in 1995 but later was held liable for both deaths in a civil suit and ordered to pay $33.5 million to the victims' families. It has not been paid.
In a statement Thursday, Regan said she has been a victim of domestic violence and considered the book to be Simpson's confession to the 1994 murders.
"I didn't know what to expect when I got the call that the killer wanted to confess," she wrote. "I didn't know what would happen. But I knew one thing. I wanted the confession for my own selfish reasons and for the symbolism of that act."
After the title was announced earlier this week, Allison Hill, Vroman's general manager, decided that donating profit was the only way she could justify selling the book. She shared her plans with other booksellers, including Kevin Ryan of Green Apple Books in San Francisco, who is also donating profit, and with Shelf Awareness, an industry e-mail newsletter, in the hope that others would follow her lead.
"Vroman's has a long history of supporting freedom of speech, and we did feel this was a freedom of speech issue," Hill said Friday. "However, we did not feel comfortable profiting from the book under these circumstances, so we felt the best thing to do would be to donate proceeds to an organization in memory of one of the victims.... It's a good way of having some good come out of this situation."