Publishers Weekly's daily newsletter reports today that Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders have made some decisions about OJ's "If I Did It":

Amazon will carry it on its site "just as it would any other book."

B&N will also list the title online, but will not carry it in its stores, with a spokeperson explaining that "the store's buyers do not believe there will be enough interest in the book to stock it in stores." They'll special order it for any customer who requests it.

Borders will stock it "since there will be customers who have an interest in purchasing the book." But Borders "will not promote or market the book in anyway." They're carrying it because "we believe in our customer's right to make his or her own choices about reading and listening material, and to support that right we feel it is our job to make a full range of choices available, without regard for our own preferences."

Where do you'all come down on this?

Personally, I have absolutely no interest in hearing anything that OJ may have to say...about this, or any other thing under the sun. And, personally, I'd like to see this book fall flat on its face.

So...do you think booksellers have some "higher calling" that requires them to stock garbage because some members of the public might be interested? Or should they exercise their own moral judgment, and simply say no?

Or maybe you think it's a bona fide literary release, with no moral questions involved? (Yikes!)

I'm reminded somewhat of years back when some radio stations stopped playing Cat Stevens after it was learned (or at least believed) that the converted Islamist vocally supported the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Some praised the stations for taking a "moral stand," while others condemned them saying that the public should choose for itself whether to listen to his music. But there at least the product--Cat Stevens' music--had some artistic merit!

Whadda ya think?

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I think that if we do not seek a higher ground sometimes, we're in danger of drowning in a sea of effluence of our own making. there is only one place OJ Simpson should be but I don't know if California still has it's gas chamber. his book is both an insult and an attack on Nicole;s family as well as Ron Goldman's . if it is published, we can say for certain what that publisher is--and it's the world's oldest profession. i would like to see boycotts of the publishers if it goes ahead. sorry, i feel very strongly about this, but that is probably because I was married to an abusive alcoholic , except i was lucky--as hateful as he was, he was not at least oj simpson. as for Cat STevens--the least said about him the better. personally, I am tired of sentences of death imposed on people by people I consider to be terrorists.
The only problem with free speech is that everyone is entitled, even dopes and worse.

I have strong feelings about this case, too. If Ron Goldman had been my son, OJ would not be playing golf today (and I would not be free). Although the money from this semi-confession will go to the Goldmans, I still won't read it or buy it.
Jack:

I agree that freedom of speech applies to everyone--thus slimeballs are entitled to write whatever trash they want to.

But the question is, having been written, must (should) publishers publish it, and must (should) booksellers carry it (hiding, as it were, behind "the public's right to know,") or should they refuse?

Being one for analogies (and leaving Cat Stevens alone), compare the pharmacist who refuses to fill prescriptions for birth control pills because of a so-called "right to life" philosophy. There are those who say that by becoming a pharmacist, one has the obligation to fill all legitimate Rx's, regardless of his/her personal beliefs.

So, are publishers and booksellers like the hypothetical pharmacist? No doubt the publishing industry is a part of our free press. But by entering that arena, do they give up their right to exercise good moral judgment, or do we--the dear public--have a right to expect them to publish and sell whatever crap any given lowlife puts down on paper?

Things that make you go "hmmmm."

Thanks
Ken
I agree with Carole about OJ and the terrorists. I won't buy or read it and I'll probably be a little judgemental of anyone who admits they did.
I see your point about free speech Jack, but discretion must also be exercised. Here's a hypothetical argument: say some nutty ex Nazi had written a really offensive book with offensive photos perhaps that he acquired in his post in some death camp. And perhaps this ex Nazi settled (false papers, etc.)in the U. S. where his hypothetical children were born. Let's say that Adolph Jr. wants to publish his father's offensive memoirs which also include offensive ( I mean really offensive) photos. would that same idealism about free speech apply to this or would the publishers feel that a line must be drawn somewhere--even for the base reason that they don't want to appear in a negative light on the evening news and incur bad publicity and not enough profit.
As for OJ Simpson, too bad that the book can't in some magical way be adjudged as "new evidence". and a new trial could be ordered. yeah, i know that's wild. I just feel sad about the whole thing. I remember Mr Goldman, Ron's father saying after the civil action he brought against OJ was over OJ smiled at him and said, "so what?!" I guess it's a so what world. too bad. i see that as a crime right there.
Your first sentence explains my concern: Who will be in charge of exercising such discretion? The government? A corporate watchdog group established by the publishing industry? A list of bestselling authors?

I just think we're all better off if each of us gets that right of refusal. I said I don't want to read the book. Sounds like few people here will. Some of us will even negatively judge its publishers and the bookstores who sell it. That's okay. That's the way it should work, in my opinion. To each his own. But I'm frightened of any person or group exercising their moral or political judgement on what I can and can't read. And yes, this applies to nutty ex-Nazis. If they can find a publisher (I doubt they could here), they are entitled to the same free speech.
I had a fair night's sleep so I'm more tolerant this morning. I have a post this morning that I'd like you to read. it's just down the page, i thought you responded to that. anyway i see your point. Yes, of course, i know you're correct. i don't want watchdogs. many American writers and others who were black listed in the commie hunting days in America came here. STanley Kubrick, Sam Wannamaker, (had the Globe Theatre restored after centuries!) They contributed so much. No, I don't in any way envision controls and lunatic committess headed up by fasicist senators and others. i certainly don't want free speech changed just because of people like simpson. nor do i want controls on publishers for what they can publish. I'm just a bit fed up. because I am here in england, and the last i heard of that simpson book saga was that it wasn't going to be published. i forgot about it and was shocked to read it was. and i got on myh high horse yesterday. simple as that.
Jack, as to your question of "who will be in charge of exercising such discretion," I believe each actor (i.e., each publisher, each bookseller, each reader) must be that person--for him/herself alone.

I believe that freedom of speech and freedom of press means not only the freedom to publish or speak whatever one feels, but also the freedom TO REFRAIN from publishing or speaking. But along with that freedom comes the necessity to ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY for one's actions.

If one publishes or speaks something, and it offends someone--Yes, you had the freedom to do what you did; but be prepared for consequences, whether it's an angry (but of course peaceful) mob demonstrating outside your door, or an outraged public boycotting your goods or services.

If one decides, for personal reasons, to steer clear of an issue--people can bitch and moan that "oh, you're abdicating your responsibility as a member of the press" or whatever, and they may react as they see fit. But that, too, comes with the territory.

So, getting back to the OJ book, and individual publishers' and booksellers' decisions on whether or not to publish or sell the darn thing, where I come down is: This is America. Do what YOU feel is appropriate. But don't cry to me when your decision comes back to bite you in the rear. And damn well expect the public to react.

And, in the immortal words of Forrest Gump: "That's all I have to say about that." Until the next post, that is.

Thanks.
Ken, I think we are in total agreement here.
I think that if the book that was to be published was filled with anti-American rants by one of the terrorists written prior to 9/11 nobody would even question if booksellers had some 'higher calling' requiring them to stock something because some people might want to read it.

But this situation is a bit different. OJ was never convicted of those crimes. It doesn't matter what I do or do not believe. I think it's incredibly perverse to write a book detailing how you would have committed a horrible crime if you'd done it yourself, whether you were a suspect or not, particularly if one of the victims was your ex. Still, there are people who will want to read this book. As much as I don't want to, do I have the right to stop anyone else? Can I blame book sellers/publishers who've evaluated the situation and feel they'll make money off this? So many companies have built themselves to success off the backs of others, which is far worse in my mind. I exercise my own personal moral judgment, and that affects where I'll shop and where I won't shop. It explains why I will NEVER buy a HP computer again (just ask Evil Kev about that) and that's not the only company I've boycotted for far less than what OJ has done here. (There's one McDonald's, for example, and one Boston Pizza.) But that's my choice and the only one who suffers with it is Evil Kev.

I do think there are risks in assessing the morality of an author when determining what to stock and not stock.
Ah, someone else who doesn't buy HP equipment. Someone who used to work for HP tried to talk me into buying one of their printers while I was looking at a Lexmark, and found it inconceivable that I might want something other than HP.

On the subject, bookstores stock things that I find equally offensive, and I don't buy them. I won't buy OJ's book either.
Okay, I just woke up and I'm a bit less antagonised than I was last night about the Simpson Book saga. I do take on board your arguments about publishing and choice (whether or not to buy). It'll be interesting to see how it goes, really. Perhaps in an unexpected way, those who supported OJ--believing he was rail-roaded, might become extremely disillusioned with this, IF I DID IT book... so i'll think about that aspect. Maybe now those of us who believe he's guilty might be joined by others who just found out he most likely is (something they didn't want to accept before), interesting!

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