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WORD: Juice is served as Beaufort Books tackles OJ book ‘If I Did It’

When Beaufort Books finalized a deal with the Goldman family for O.J. Simpson’s tell-all book "If I Did It," the publisher’s president Eric Kampmann probably figured enough time had passed to avert a repeat of that last year’s firestorm. In late 2006, HarperCollins destroyed 400,000 copies of the book, which retells Ron Goldman’s and Nicole Brown Simpson’s murders, as bookstores across the country refused to carry the title.

At the time, the American public condemned If I Did It’s imminent publication, believing it was a brazen attempt for Simpson to capitalize on an unspeakable crime for financial gain. The fallout led to publisher Judith Regan getting axed, the termination of her imprint, ReganBooks, and the flamboyant Regan filing a lawsuit.

After a Florida bankruptcy court awarded the rights of If I Did It to the Goldman family earlier this month, Los Angeles-based literary agent Sharlene Martin of Martin Literary Management brokered the deal with Beaufort Books, which will finally move If I Did It from the publishing scrapheap to bookstores across the country.

"I am very proud to be part of my clients’ effort to expose this confessional to the rest of the world. Once I read it, I knew I wanted to help get this book out so any illusions of ‘fiction’ would be dismissed," said Martin in a press release. "Our decision to go with Beaufort Books was based upon Eric Kampmann’s stellar reputation in the publishing industry and his passion for justice for the Goldmans."

If I Did It will help move Beaufort Books, a small New York publisher, into the American mainstream with its launch in October. Public outrage over the book seems to have dwindled, but on Tuesday the Associated Press reported that Barnes & Noble would not carry it, citing what it claims is a lack of customer interest. That’s probably another way of saying B&N wants no part of a potential train wreck, even if chances of that are low. Unlike last year, Borders Group quickly countered by stating it will carry the beleaguered book.

Kampmann was careful to note that the Goldmans, not OJ, stand to benefit from the book’s publication. "We will be working diligently to not only publish this book well, but to honor the memory of the victims of this terrible crime: Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson," he said in the announcement.

Beaufort Books was founded in 1980 and has been owned by Eric Kampmann since 1984. It recently published titles like "The Knock at the Door" by Margaret Ajemian Ahnert, "The Presence Process" by Michael Brown, and "Defining Moments" by Gordon Zacks.

The Goldmans, the publisher and agent Sharlene Martin will contribute portions of sales proceeds to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice, according to Beaufort Books.


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