Lieberman Closes the Book on 1999 Tome

Posted June 15, 2004 at 5:56pm

When Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) speaks before his fellow Senators, his words demand attention. In bookstores, however, Lieberman’s prose seems to be falling flat.

Lieberman’s 1999 book, “In Praise of Public Life,” has reached the end of its shelf life, according the Senator’s campaign attorney, who is asking the Federal Election Commission whether the campaign can take a few hundred copies of the book off the publisher’s hands.

“In Praise of Public Life” examines public service and provides an insider’s look at how the Senate works. Since the implosion of Lieberman’s presidential campaign, the tome has plummeted down Amazon.com’s sales charts: Used hardback copies of the book are selling for 44 cents, and the paperback version is selling for as low as a penny.

In a recent letter to the FEC’s legal department, Washington attorney Cassandra Lentchner wrote, “Simon and Schuster has notified Sen. Lieberman that it has determined that the book is no longer readily saleable and that it intends to dispose of its remaining inventory.”

The Lieberman campaign is asking the campaign oversight agency to approve a plan by which the campaign purchases a few hundred “pulp copies” — that is, books that are no longer deemed marketable — at the bargain-basement price of $3.40 each.

“No royalties would accrue to Senator Lieberman for such a sale, as the sale would be a remainder sale for less than 85 percent of the catalog retail price,” Lentchner wrote, asserting that the one-time presidential contender and the running mate in then-Vice President Al Gore’s losing 2000 campaign will in no way profit from the deal.

The campaign wants to use the books in connection with Lieberman’s 2006 Senate reelection fundraising, by handing out copies of the discounted tome to contributors and supporters.

In 2001, Lieberman and his wife, Hadassah, jointly authored “An Amazing Adventure,” a volume that chronicled their lives and experiences on the campaign trail in 2000. It was also published by Simon & Schuster Inc.

The FEC typically issues an opinion on such matters within eight weeks of the initial request.