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Publisher Profits from Anna Nicole’s Death

Now, let me say that the headline isn’t meant as condemnation, more as confirmation. In fact, when I saw Julie Bosman‘s New York Times piece about Barricade Books rushing a revamped version of the 1996 bio GREAT BIG BEAUTIFUL DOLL by Eric and D’Eva Redding back into print, I wondered what took so long for them to do it, since And as it happens, the paperback reprint was in the works before Anna Nicole Smith‘s death last week, with updates just completed and the re-release slated for this spring.

Last fall, Carole Stuart, the publisher of Barricade Books, had observed Smith’s recent troubles, notably, the death of her 20-year-old son and the paternity dispute over her newborn daughter. “I just thought, so much has happened in the 10 years since the first book came out that it would make a good trade paperback,” Stuart said. “Then of course last week she dies. And so we suddenly got really, really attractive to the distributors and to the book buyers.” So attractive that booksellers and retailers have ordered thousands of copies of the book, sending it into an additional printing of 15,000 copies, a significant number for a publisher like Barricade, which puts out a modest 20 titles a year. And first editions of the book are retailing at used bookshops at $200 or higher.

No wonder Stuart had to add the caveat that “we didn’t kill her or anything” though she admits there’s lots of dough to be made. A French publisher called, wanting to buy the rights for a French version, and a Japanese agent wants to represent it in Asia, she said. An agent in Los Angeles and two in New York are competing to bid on the film rights to the book. “I think we’re probably going to make a quick deal for a TV movie,” she said. “Watch for it on Lifetime.”

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