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The most profitable book ever?

WASHINGTON — Defense Department officials are negotiating to buy and destroy all 10,000 copies of the first printing of an Afghan war memoir they say contains intelligence secrets, according to two people familiar with the dispute.

So, isn’t this just incentivizing the publisher to print more books?  At worst for the publisher, a lot of people going to want to buy the book the military doesn’t want anyone to see.  At best for the publisher, the military steps up and just keeps buying all of the new editions.  And if that looks to be the case, the publisher can probably slack off in paper and editing quality, etc.

Disputes between the government and former intelligence officials over whether their books reveal too much have become commonplace. But veterans of the publishing industry and intelligence agencies could not recall another case in which an agency sought to dispose of a book that had already been printed.

Army reviewers suggested various changes and redactions and signed off on the edited book in January, saying they had “no objection on legal or operational security grounds,” and the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, planned for an Aug. 31 release.

And presumably small to no shipping costs!  Is the military singlehandedly making this the most profitable book ever?

Colonel Shaffer, his lawyer, Mark S. Zaid, and lawyers for the publisher are near an agreement with the Pentagon over what will be taken out of a new edition to be published Sept. 24, with the allegedly classified passages blacked out. But the two sides are still discussing whether the Pentagon will buy the first printing, currently in the publisher’s Virginia warehouse, and at what price.

Okay, so they can’t just keep reprinting the book to have the military buy them all up, damn.  That would have been awesome.


2 Responses

  1. That is so strange… I didn’t realize we lived in Fahrenheit 451. What kind of power does the government have to stop a book from being published? I should look this up.

    • It was written by a former member of the military and I believe there is some sort of standardized procedure to have books written by those folks approved. Not sure why their free speech is limited if they are former members, but I suppose it is under the guise of public safety and similar to signing a non-disclosure trade agreement when leaving a company with insider information. Still weird.

      The stupid part is definitely that it got to the point where it was approved once, printed, and actually made it to the warehouse before some other military review board was like ‘Uh, hey you can’t print that.’

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