Saturday, September 15, 2007

OJ Simpson Odors

Even at this late date, some bookstore owners are apparently still struggling with the question of whether or not to stock OJ Simpson's repulsive spewing on their shelves. Do they pander to a group of people probably coming to bookstores for the first time in months, if not years, or do they take the high road and tell Fred Goldman that they won't be earning any of OJ's blood money for him? The big chain bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Borders have already made the decision to hold their noses and sell the book. It's the independents that are wondering what to do now.

At the Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore, the matter was put to a staff vote. By a margin of 7-6, the staff opted to carry the book. But owner Darielle Linehan decided she didn't want to make any money off the sale of the book, which was published yesterday.

"All proceeds from the sale of the book at our store will go to the House of Ruth," Linehan said, referring to the Baltimore domestic violence center that helps battered women and their children. "It's sort of a matter of principle that money from the sale of the book would go to something good.
Rainy Day Books near Kansas City, Kan., ordered just one copy of the book for people to thumb through if they're curious. But the store will not sell the book. Instead, customers will be encouraged to make a donation of equal or greater value to a local women's shelter.

"I see it as an opportunity to raise awareness of the issue of domestic violence," said Vivien Jennings, owner of Rainy Day Books. "I don't think anyone should profit from it, and I feel really strongly about that. I feel like it is blood money."

Book Passage in California, which has stores in Corte Madera and San Francisco, won't carry the book at all. Store managers wrote an explanation of their decision to be read to anyone who calls or asks for the book:
Several independent bookstore owners said they would carry the book but not promote it. They said they are not in the business of censoring books and are wary of not stocking a book based on their own personal objections.

"We just don't want to be part of a group that would restrict access to a book that is lawfully available," said Derek Holland, manager of the Tattered Cover in Denver. "We don't want to be seen as holding books back. It's for our marketplace and our readers to decide."
But where to shelve the book is another matter. If I Did It will be found in the fiction section of Baltimore County libraries. But Baltimore City libraries will shelve it under social science and history. At Book People in Austin, Texas, manager Bryan Sansone said the store has found another section it believes more appropriate for the book: true crime.
I spent about 90 minutes in my local Barnes & Noble store yesterday and didn't think to look specifically for the book while I was there. I assume that they have stocked it, but I didn't stumble across it and never thought to ask about it. Here's hoping that this pile of garbage never sees a second printing and that a substantial portion of the initial printing is returned to the publisher for pulping. But, in today's voyeuristic society, I don't really expect that to happen.

Previous Posts:

Have We Lost Our Minds?
Barnes & Noble Decide to Carry Simpson Book in Stores
No OJ Simpson Book in Barnes & Noble Stores
OJ Simpson's Blood Money


  1. We still don't have any copies in our store, thank God. We have 2 scheduled to come in, but they're special orders, not stock.

    We actually had a woman get quite testy with a manager last night because we didn't have it.

  2. I can't even imagine the kind of vulture who is anxious to get his hands on this trash, but I suppose that it takes all kinds.

    I still haven't seen an actual copy of the thing and I don't think I'll even pick it up if I do spot one.

  3. I expect the big bookstores don't have much of a choice. At that size, if you don't do what's best (monetarily) for your shareholders, you get in big trouble. Failing to stock a high-demand book would certainly fall into that category.

    Love what that store in Baltimore decided to do. They aren't too far away; maybe I'll drop by sometime.

  4. That's certainly part of what's happening, Heather. It's risky for a business to tick off customers who show up, cash in hand, ready to buy something. This is really tricky because whichever way a store decides to handle this book is going to upset some of its customers.