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Retailers downplay O.J. Simpson's 'If I Did It'

Barnes & Noble won't stock it; Borders isn't going to promote it. Are buyers out there?

August 22, 2007|Hillel Italie | Associated Press

NEW YORK -- If you're hoping to buy the new edition of O.J. Simpson's "If I Did It," don't expect to find a copy at Barnes & Noble.

Citing a perceived lack of customer interest, the chain said the book would only be available by special order or for purchase at "Our buyers don't feel there will be enough of a demand to carry it in our stores," Barnes & Noble spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating said Tuesday.

A rival chain, Borders Group Inc., said Tuesday that it would stock "If I Did It," a ghostwritten, fictionalized account of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. But spokeswoman Ann Binkley said Borders "will not promote or market the book in any way."

"We think it will have some interest in the first week or two, then die down," said Binkley, who added that Borders, which for the original book had planned to donate profits to charity, will not do so this time.

Simpson's book was first scheduled for publication last November by ReganBooks, an imprint of HarperCollins, with an announced printing of 400,000. But "If I Did It" was dropped in response to widespread outrage. ReganBooks founder Judith Regan was later fired and her imprint disbanded.

"It is Barnes & Noble's decision, not my decision, and the marketplace will determine whether they are right or not," said Eric Kampmann, the owner and president of Beaufort Books, the new publisher of "If I Did It." "But I think it's sad if they're making their decision based on the HarperCollins experience, which was a totally different situation."

Last month, a federal bankruptcy judge awarded rights to the book to Goldman's family to help satisfy a $38-million wrongful death judgment against Simpson. Beaufort, a small New York-based publisher, is issuing "If I Did It" in October, with Simpson's original manuscript intact and commentary included. The Goldman family is calling the book Simpson's confession -- the same description Regan offered in justifying the original publication.

"If I Did It" is still being criticized, even if Simpson is not profiting from it. Denise Brown, Nicole Brown Simpson's sister, has accused Goldman's father, Fred Goldman, and other family members of hypocrisy for publishing what he had called "disgusting and despicable" when Simpson planned to publish it.

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