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Hey, How Can You Sell a Canceled Book?

When the publication of OJ Simpson‘s now beyond-infamous “confession” IF I DID IT was canceled late last month, HarperCollins spokeswoman Erin Crum told the Associated Press that “some copies had already been shipped to stores but would be recalled, and all copies would be destroyed.” Looks like the definition of “all” is somewhat fuzzy because according to Nielsen Bookscan numbers released earlier today, 100 copies of IF I DID IT sold across the country in the week ending December 3. As one tipster put it, “not only are copies leaking out, but some bookstores are actually selling them.”

How do sales break down by city? Surprise surprise, New York is tops, with 14 copies sold. Los Angeles is in second place with 12, while other cities with three or more copies sold include Philadelphia (6) Boston (4), Sacramento (3), Salt Lake City (3) and Chicago (3). St. Louis, Denver, Tampa, Milwaukee, Orlando, Buffalo, Louisville and Las Vegas each saw two copies sold.

As for who sold IF I DID IT into waiting customer’s hands, only 6 copies overall were sold by standalone retail outlets – the remainder came from what Bookscan deems the “Discount & Other” category, that being online bookstore retailers such as Amazon.com, B&N.com, BooksAMillion.com, Borders.com and Powells.com, as well as other major players like Target, Starbucks, Costco and K-Mart.

That some copies sold instead of going back to HarperCollins’ warehouse for pulping is to be expected – and perhaps the real surprise is that so few leaked out. (Phone calls to Crum were not returned as of this writing.) But as Abebooks.com spokesman Richard Davies to AP at the time of IF I DID IT’s cancellation. “A book becomes collectible when it’s hard to find, and this will become very, very collectible, surely worth four figures,” So congratulations, you lucky 106 – you’ve got yourself quite a rarity on your hands…

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