In Depth

Dismal sales of Perugia memoir leave Amanda Knox in a fix

Sales of Waiting to be Heard are way down on US expectations – and the lawyers' bills are mounting

DISMAL sales of her much-vaunted memoir and mounting legal problems have left Amanda Knox - once jailed for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher and later freed on appeal - facing an uncertain future.

Not only have American sales of Waiting to be Heard fallen far short of expectation – only 36,000 copes have sold from an announced initial print run of 750,000 – but any hopes for a global bestseller have evaporated.

"I don't know what I am going to do. The future is very unsure for me financially," Knox told the Toronto Post.

Last year, the Associated Press reported that Knox's book deal was worth $4 million for world rights, with Knox being represented by high-profile Washington attorney Robert Barnett, whose other clients include President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush.  

But several European publishers have run scared of being sued by those who claim Amanda libeled them in Waiting to be Heard. The book has not been published in either Britain or Italy. NovelRank, a site that tracks Amazon sales globally, reports Knox's memoir sales as "inactive" in Germany.

Even in the US, Publisher's Weekly said the memoir "underwhelmed" and was "slow out of the gate". As of last Friday, it had lost 30 per cent of its sales from its debut week, falling back to No. 5 on the non-fiction hardcover bestseller list despite Knox conducting dozens of interviews in the hope of boosting sales.

Knox received a $1.5 million advance for the book, but as lawyers' bills continue to mount, the cash is apparently not stretching far.

In March, the Italian high court overturned her sensational acquittal and called for her to be retried on appeal in Florence. Knox's lawyers say they are now waiting for the high court's reasoning, due next month, before deciding whether Knox should attend when the retrial is finally scheduled.

Meanwhile there are at least six outstanding cases or complaints in the Italian courts and at least two more being drafted by incensed Perugia officials who read online – or via Italian media accounts - what Knox had written in her book. Some of those complaints are defamation - alleging her remarks have damaged reputations - but there are also calumny cases, in which Knox is charged with having accused someone else of a crime.

In Bergamo, anti-mafia magistrate Giuliano Mignini, who prosecuted the murder case against Knox and her one-time Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, filed a defamation complaint against the Italian gossip magazine Oggi after it pringted excerpts from Waiting to be Heard. Mignini took issue with accusations that he intimidated, yelled and failed to protect Knox rights during his questioning.

Meanwhile, Knox's parents are still fighting a (pre-memoir) defamation charge for alleging that the Perugia police hit Knox during questioning. Knox herself also faces a more serious calumny charge in Florence for alleging in court that police coerced her to accuse Patrick Lumumba, a Perugia bar owner, who she was definitively convicted of slandering in March.  

Knox told interviewers: "I am not going to change my story just because someone is threatening to sue me but I mean... it sucks. It sucks and it sucks."

Meredith Kercher's family have reserved comment during Knox's media blitz, even when she's made direct reference to them, for instance saying she wanted to visit Meredith's grave for closure and that she had felt "crushed' by the fact that the Kerchers were not yet convinced of Knox's innocence. Meredith's father, John Kercher, who published his own tribute book, Meredith, last year, reportedly declined to make any television appearances.

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