Senator Dianne Feinstein speaks to the media after a closed meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill April 3, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images
December 5, 2014 10:31 AM EST

In theory, the upcoming Senate report on torture has all the makings of a government bestseller. It’s an in-depth, well-researched document on a juicy and secretive topic.

In the past, publishers have jumped on the chance to release big government reports as trade paperbacks: W. W. Norton published the 9/11 Commission Report, PublicAffairs Books put out the Starr Report on President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky and Cambridge University Press published a collection of legal documents about U.S. policy on torture, to name a few. (The Starr Report even set off something of a scramble among publishers.)

But it’s not clear yet whether the torture report will get the same treatment. Clive Priddle, publisher at PublicAffairs Books, told TIME that his company contacted the committee about publishing the document once it is released because there will be “significant public interest in the report,” but the committee has “not expressed a willingness to go forward.”

Tom Mentzer, press secretary for California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that isn’t exactly what happened. He said the committee told PublicAffairs Books that it would “look into it,” but that “the committee staff—which is quite limited in manpower—is devoting its attention to getting the executive summary released.”

To be fair, publishers don’t exactly need the committee’s cooperation to reprint a report that will be in the public record as early as next week. And the lack of a trade paperback wouldn’t mean it wasn’t available to the average citizen — a government printing office will send thousands of copies to libraries around the country and the report will be available online.

But Priddle argues there would be merit in publishing it commercially as well. “Not everybody reads everything online, and not everybody trusts everything that appears online,” he said. “And for a significant report like this I think there would be an enduring interest in it, and the durability of a physical book is better than an e-book file.”

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