When Booksellers Lie
"O.J. will never sell" is the new "Your check is in the mail."
"Our buyers don't feel there will be enough of a demand to carry it in our stores."—Mary Ellen Keating, spokeswoman for Barnes & Noble, explaining to Hillel Italie of the Associated Press why Barnes & Noble will offer O.J. Simpson's book If I Did It only by special order or through its Web site.
—Sales rank of If I Did It on Barnes & Noble's Web site, Aug. 23, 2007, at 11:30 a.m. That places it higher than any other book not yet published, including forthcoming novels by best-selling blockbuster authors James Patterson and John Grisham.
[Update, Aug. 27, 12:15 ET: Now it's ranked No. 1. With flops like this, who needs hits?]
Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.