O.J. Simpson tops Clinton on best-sellers list

LOS ANGELES Fri Sep 28, 2007 1:55am EDT

Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson ducks into a car outside the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada September 19, 2007 after being released from jail on bail of $125,000. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson ducks into a car outside the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada September 19, 2007 after being released from jail on bail of $125,000.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "If I Did It," O.J. Simpson's hypothetical account of his ex-wife's slaying, has hit No. 2 on the New York Times best-sellers list for non-fiction, topping former U.S. President Bill Clinton's book "Giving."

The best-seller ranking for the week ending September 22, the Simpson book's first full week in stores, is due to run in the the Times on October 7 but was released on Thursday, more than a week early, by publisher Beaufort Books.

Friday's Times best-sellers list, covering the week ending September 15, puts "If I Did It" at No. 3, based on just the first two days of its sales.

The book was published September 14, the same day news first broke that Simpson, acquitted of double murder in 1995, had been questioned by police in connection with an alleged holdup in Las Vegas. He has since been charged with armed robbery, kidnapping and assault.

For the most recent week of the best-sellers list, Clinton's book about philanthropy fell to No. 3 from second place a week before. The latest No. 1 non-fiction book is "The Age of Turbulence" by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

The best-seller listings do not include any sales figures, but Beaufort, an independent New York-based publishing house, has already printed 200,000 copies and plans to print more next week, spokesman Michael Wright told Reuters.

That tally is already half the number of copies churned out by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.-owned HarperCollins in a previous printing scrapped last year amid a public outcry over the book and Simpson's reported $1 million publishing advance.

PUBLISHING COUP

Rights to the book were acquired in July through a bankruptcy settlement by relatives of Ron Goldman, who was murdered with Nicole Brown Simpson in 1994.

The ghost-written book contains a hypothetical first-person account of how the former football star could have carried out the slayings of his ex-wife and Goldman. Simpson was acquitted of murder charges in 1995 but later found liable for the killings in a wrongful death suit brought by the victims' families.

The commercial success of the book marks a literary coup for Goldman's relatives, who originally condemned "If I Did It" as exploitation but later waged a campaign to seize rights to the book to help satisfy their $33.5 million civil judgment against Simpson.

When the Goldmans struck a new publishing deal with Beaufort, they added to "If I Did It" the subtitle "Confessions of the Killer."

"We struggled with the concept of having to publish this book, but upon deeper reflection it became clear to us that this was the only opportunity to expose Simpson and offer some element of justice," Ron Goldman's father, Fred Goldman, said in a statement.

His daughter, Kim Goldman, added in a Reuters interview: "I like to hope that people are purchasing the book to be supportive of ... my family," but she acknowledged the public harbors a "morbid curiosity" about Simpson.

Financial terms of the publishing deal have not been disclosed. Talk show host Oprah Winfrey has reported the family will make 17 cents for every book sold, but Beaufort says the figure is higher than that.

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