Notoriety is not a reason to sell books
Literacy has usually been a key factor in the way we bestow the coveted label of "civilized," whether it be on a national or individual kind of scale.
Places like the so-called Third World countries are deemed "developing" because (among other more industrial kinds of reasons, of course) the average citizen probably wouldn’t recognize Shakespeare if they came across it – or Dan Brown, for that matter.
So naturally – and to the dismay of English teachers everywhere – when an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday indicated that 25 percent of American adults read a total of zero books in the past year, it must have ruffled a few feathers. Various polls conducted over the past few years have quickly been approaching this kind of ratio.
As disheartening as this may sound at first, however, perhaps it is not such a bad thing that fewer traveling to all the places and times that books have to offer these days. It just means that at least 25 percent of us won’t have to find out first hand how exactly the famously acquitted O.J. Simpson "did it."
Yes, O.J. is on our minds once again, but ideally not for long. At least this is the mindset of Borders Group, Inc. Borders, unlike its corporate nemesis Barnes ‘ Noble, said it will have in stock copies of the highly publicized, and apparently highly fictitious, Simpson work, If I Did It, but it will not go out of its way to advertise the fact.
Barnes ‘ Noble declined to carry the book in its stores because of a supposed lack of interest.
Yeah, this particular book enjoys such a lack of interest that Judith Regan – the brassy founder of the publishing company offshoot that was originally going to bring the book to press – didn’t get fired after the incident totally trashed her reputation and integrity.
It is also so uninteresting that we mindless saps, the American consumers, tolerated the better part of a decade of otherwise un-sensational trials, Johnny Cochran and, later, the fictional derivative Jackie Chiles. We also didn’t care to witness the vast outrage when Simpson tried to get the book published, and actually onto the nightstands of readers, the first time around.
Not to mention, the book means so little to people that a federal judge did not turn the book rights over to Ronald Goldman’s family to ease a $38 million wrongful death suit judgment.
Those who are curious, which just has to be more than the leading book stores estimate, will have the opportunity to gain some insight into the creative mind of Simpson when If I Did It will be released in October. From it’s new publisher, Beaufort Books, the book that has been stirring curiosity up and down the publishing world will be reissued with the original text and additional commentary.
Whether we want to admit it, we are intrigued by such controversy as this. Another case in point is Don Imus, whose recent remarks got him fired and censured from every imaginable angle.
The controversial talk show host settled his finances with his former employer, which probably means he will probably be up (to no good) and running soon enough.
"We are in a society where celebrity is the most important part of fame. Whether it’s for good or for bad – that doesn’t seem to translate in corporate America’s unending quest for ratings," Talkers Magazine founder Michael Harrison told the Associated Press. "He’s more valuable now than before the controversy. … He’s in a position to sort of reinvent himself – to make himself more pertinent and even more interesting."
Palmer, a communication senior, can be reached via [email protected]