Barnes & Noble, the world’s largest book retailer, has decided to sell O.J. Simpson’s book “If I Did It” in its stores, reversing an earlier decision to offer the controversial title only on the Web.
“Our customers are asking for it. We have been monitoring pre-orders and decided we had enough” to put the book on retail shelves, company spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating said on Thursday.
“If I Did It,” in which the former U.S. football star offers a hypothetical account of his ex-wife’s murder, has caused a firestorm of controversy since it was revealed last November that Simpson worked with a ghostwriter to author it.
Simpson was acquitted of murder charges in 1995, but was later found liable for the killings in a civil trial and ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages to the victims’ families.
The original publisher scrapped plans for “If I Did It” after public outrage, and the family of Ronald Goldman, who was killed with Simpson’s former wife Nicole Brown Simpson in 1994, eventually won rights to the book in a court battle.
Last month, New York-based Beaufort Books partnered with the Goldman family to publish “If I Did It” because the publisher believes it will be seen “as a confession by many who will read it,” according to a statement from Beaufort.
The book is set for a September 14 release, and 150,000 copies will be printed, up from a previously planned 125,000 copies, according to a Beaufort spokeswoman.
Keating said Barnes & Noble originally believed demand would not be high enough to put the book in stores. But online pre-orders have risen more than expected and the book has been on the top 100 list at barnesandnoble.com.