The nation’s two largest superstore chains, Barnes & Noble, Inc. and Borders Group, Inc., will sell the new O.J. Simpson book, with Borders expecting “strong sales” and Barnes & Noble saying it has no plans to donate proceeds to charity.
“Barnes & Noble will carry O.J. Simpson’s new book, ‘If I Did It,’ just as we do every book in print,” spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating said Friday in a statement.
“As always with publicity books like this we prepare for strong sales, but ultimately it is up to the customers’ reaction to the publicity,” Bill Nasshan, Borders’ senior vice president of adult trade merchandising, said in a statement.
Keating said Barnes & Noble had not seen the book and did not know how it would promote “If I Did It.” Borders spokeswoman Ann Binkley said Friday that the book will have “easily visible” placement in stores, but that any profits will be donated to a charity, currently undetermined, that opposes domestic violence.
Numerous independent stores, appalled by Simpson’s book, in which the former football star speculates how he would have killed his ex-wife, have said either they won’t sell it or will offer limited copies and give away the proceeds.
“We probably won’t stock the book, but if somebody comes and asks for it, we’ll order it for them and then donate the money,” said Lise Friedman, manager of Dutton’s Brentwood Books, located in the Los Angeles County community where Simpson lived at the time of the murders.
“If I Did It” comes out Nov. 30, following a two-part interview on Fox Broadcasting, and interest appears strong, but not overwhelming. Since the book’s announcement late Tuesday, it has steadily climbed on the best seller list of Amazon.com, reaching No. 20 as of Friday afternoon.
According to an official of the Mystery Writers of America, Simpson’s book will essentially be treated as “true crime,” a genre that traditionally sells best at superstores, with independent sellers preferring purely fictional works. Reed Farrell Coleman, executive vice president of MWA, also said independent stores had more reason to worry about anger against the Simpson book.
“An independent store depends more on a faithful clientele, which it can’t afford to offend. Superstores are more likely simply to respond to public demand,” Coleman said.
Earlier Friday, publisher Judith Regan of ReganBooks, a HarperCollins imprint, said she took on “If I Did It” because she was a victim of domestic violence and thought any proceeds would go to Simpson’s children.
In an eight-page statement, Regan said Simpson approached her with the idea for the book, in which he hypothesizes how he would have committed the killings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I got the call that the killer wanted to confess,” Regan said in the statement titled “Why I Did It.” “But I knew one thing. I wanted the confession for my own selfish reasons and for the symbolism of that act. For me, it was personal.”
Although Regan has acknowledged that Simpson does not directly say he killed the pair, she said she considers the book to be his confession.
“My son is now 25 years old, my daughter 15,” the publisher said in her statement. “I wanted them, and everyone else, to have a chance to see that there are consequences to grievous acts. ... And I wanted, as so many victims do, to hear him say, ’I did it and I am sorry.’
“I didn’t know if he would. But I wanted to try. I wanted his confession.”
Regan, known for such tabloid best sellers as Jose Canseco’s “Juiced,” said she did not pay Simpson for the book. “I contracted through a third party who owns the rights, and I was told the money would go to his children. That much I could live with.
“What I wanted was closure, not money,” she wrote.
Regan’s statement did not identify the “third party” or say what she would do with any money made from the book. Phone and e-mail messages from The Associated Press were not immediately returned.