Fake memoir's surprise success

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The Independent Culture

Only 1,729 people have asked to be reimbursed for buying James Frey's largely fabricated best-selling memoir A Million Little Pieces. This emerged yesterday as a New York judge approved a settlement with disgruntled readers.

Although publisher Random House set aside £1.15m to cover costs related to the lawsuits, advertisements in 962 newspapers and elsewhere drew only the 1,729 claims for reimbursement, costing just £13,650. Another £391,000 will be paid out in legal fees along with £216,000 in costs associated with publicising and carrying out the settlement.

The settlement also calls for £90,000 to be divided among three charities: First Book, which gives poor children a chance to own their first book; Hazelden addiction treatment centre and the American Red Cross. Random House agreed to include a warning in the book that not all portions are accurate. The book sold 93,738 copies in the seven months after the controversy erupted.