O.J. Simpson's "If I Did It" was one of this fall's guilty pleasures – no one admits to reading it, but 150,000 copies have been sold online and in bookstores.
For those who might have forgotten, the ghost-written account of how the former football star would have murdered Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman was supposed to be published last year by ReganBooks, but was pulled in response to public outrage. Later, the Goldman family, awarded the rights to the book by a federal bankruptcy judge, had it printed by a smaller publishing house, Beaufort Books. They retitled it "If I Did it: Confessions of the Killer."
Spurred by the prodigious sales, the American publishing industry is now seeking to capitalize on what many see as a new genre of literature – the Conditional Confession, known as "Con-Con," or "Double-Con."
Other participants in the so-called trial of the century are reported to be rushing their own double-con forays into print. New Reich Books, an imprint of David Duke Publishers, will issue Mark Furhman's "If I Said It," which promises chapters on hurling epithets, glove identification, and popular hikes in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
Exculpatory Press will launch Marcia Clark's "If I Smiled." But, tragically, no publishing house so far seems interested in Judge Ito's "If I Ruled It," although his jello mold continues to do well.
This, of course, is only the beginning. Historians are rushing long-moldering manuscripts to agents everywhere. Getting them published can be ... well, murder. But here's what may be hitting the shelves before the new year.
An usher at London's Globe Theatre found a dog-eared folio stuffed into a medieval seat cushion bearing the slogan, "Crushhe Manchester Unitede." The folio was signed "W. Shakespeare" and called, "As a Matter of Fact, I Did Write It." But before scholars declare the case closed and exchange righteous "I told you so's," the footnotes are in the handwriting of Ben Johnson and Francis Bacon.
DucknCoverup Books expects huge business from Lee Harvey Oswald's "If Me and a Few Other Guys Did It."
But it's film director James Cameron who may hold the hottest property in the double-con world. Apparently while on location shooting his recent documentary, he didn't just discover the lost tomb of Jesus. Using a lipstick camera dangled down a hot-water pipe in a Jerusalem public restroom, he found an ossuary bearing the words "Pontius Pilate."
Inside were papyrus fragments labeled "If He Washed His Hands of It," detailing the bath soap preferences of Rome's most famous prefect. What's more, the documents reveal that the Pharisees and Sadducees had little influence on Pilate's decision. Instead, members of an obscure lobby called the Galilee Goat Promotion Board were identified as frequently dining with Pilate at the Jerusalem Country Club. The club, criticized for having no Jewish members until well into the 2nd century, was known as the "K Street of ancient Judea."
This news has sparked its own brouhaha. Word is that Geraldo Rivera tore off in search of Moses' secret vault. The Dead Sea Scrolls Institute isn't too happy either, claiming they have a first-look deal that covers all ancient fragmented texts.
Publishing experts believe the con-con genre isn't a passing fad, but will join the ranks of the classics. "Absolutely," said editor and celebrity-book publisher Judith Regan. "These books have the staying power of nuclear waste."
• Frank Kosa, a documentary filmmaker, lives in Los Angeles.