Friday, November 17, 2006

Publish and Perish


Janice Regan's various explanations for why she has published O.J. Simpson's latest pleas for attention, "If I Did It," just make no sense. And In tying up with someone who is widely thought to be beyond redemption, Regan has done herself and her imprint irreparable damage. For what?

The silliest of her explanations is the notion that publishing Simpson would ensure that the world was not deprived of the "... historical value in such work; there is value for law enforcement, for students of psychology, for anyone who wants to gain insight into the mind of a sociopath."

Let's say there is some benefit to hearing more from Simpson. He can publish himself. Lots of aspiring writers resort to this. He can blog. Between DOS attacks he'd probably get plenty of attention.

Then there is the chance to purge her own demons. Perhaps she should consider writing a book of her own ...

This public service must include the proposition that ReganBooks expects to make money. And that Simpson expects something in return.
"What I do know is I didn't pay him. 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."
Sounds like an iron-clad contract to me. And it must be very consoling to the families of the victims, who have yet to receive the full amount of the civil judgment they were awarded.

The line between fact and fiction was blurred by James Frey, but this is a new twist. Regan considers the Simpson book a confession. The book is being touted as a work of fiction. There is no legal necessity for Simpson to finesse anything since he cannot be criminally charged in the murders again and already has a civil judgment against him.

Borders and Barnes and Noble say they will carry the book. The former will donate proceeds to charity, the latter not. But everyone should have done a little checking about the marketability of Simpson. His last book on his favorite subject is still available, on amazon.com. There are 352 copies available, in hardcover, starting at one penny.

My favorite quote on the prospect of marketing Simpson comes in the Nov. 15 edition of the NYTimes:
Rebecca Marks, a spokeswoman for NBC Universal Television, said the network passed (on a packaged broadcast interview conducted by Regan) because “from an advertising point of view, from a public relations point of view, everything, it was impossible.”



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