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Beaufort Snaps Up If I Did It

As promised, here’s a followup on last night’s announcement about Beaufort Books‘s acquisition of If I Did It, the book OJ Simpson “wrote” with a theoretical explanation for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman which the Goldman family had been shopping around since the rights were awarded to them last month. Although the 400,000-copy first printing ReganBooks prepared last fall is cited, Beaufort did not discuss the scope of its own publishing plans in its official announcement on the Beaufort home page. Likewise, the arrangement was described simply as “a publishing deal” with no hint of financial details. Instead, Beaufort’s Eric Kampmann and literary agent Sharlene Martin promote the book’s publication as a triumph of justice, in which “what was previously perceived as Simpson’s narrative of the crime will now be seen as a confession.”

Shortly after GalleyCat posted the basic facts last night, we heard our first criticism of the deal—but it wasn’t about the book’s alleged exploitative qualities, which is Denise Brown’s big objection. Instead, a publishing insider scoffed at Beaufort, which describes itself as “an intriguing alternative to the traditional publishing model,” and called the Goldman deal “thinly disguised self publishing from the guy who owns Midpoint Trade,” which is Kampmann’s other company. When a publisher says “we share in the risk,” our source observed, “that’s code for ‘you pay.’” So that’s obviously something we’ll want to follow up on when we wake up Wednesday morning, if other reporters don’t jump on the question now that we’ve raised it… (And, hours later, PW‘s Bridget Kinsella established it’s a “traditional book deal.”

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