May 21, 2007
My New Used Book Money-Making Scheme: A Million Little Refunds
Posted by Christine Hurt

The other day I realized I still had a copy of A Million Little Pieces by James Frey.  Good thing I didn't throw that out!  The Law Blog is reporting news of a settlement between disgruntled plaintiffs that truly believed that crack addicts recover by pure willpower (and the love of their organized crime friends) and Random House.  Peter Lattman quoted my University of Illinois colleague Andrew Morriss as writing in a letter to the editor that a better remedy would be "consigning Mr. Frey's book, and his future work as well, to the remainder bin."  I completely agree, but this way I could get "up to" $14.95!

However, I would have to sign a sworn statement saying that I bought the book because I thought it was true.  I can't possibly say that with a straight face when I'm not even sure I knew it was a memoir when I bought it.  (Strangely, Target doesn't seem to have a "fiction" section and a "nonfiction" section; it merely has a "here are books a lot of people buy" section.)  Plus, I guess I would have to find a notary.  Now this is sounding like all of those rebates I never send in because the transaction costs are too high.  I can see the lawyers negotiating now:  "OK, we won't say you have to have a receipt because they'll never go for that.  So let's pretend that we're sticklers for requiring that all plaintiffs must have actually relied on the fraud.  But we'll require it to be a "sworn statement."  Notary fees can be up to $10.  Who is going to jump through these hoops?  Nobody!"  Now, giggle evilly like Vizzini right before the iocane powder kicks in.

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