James Patterson Wants to Ignite Sales With $300,000 Self-Destructing Book

2 min read · 7 years ago


Whoever said that the book business is dying a slow death hasn’t met James Patterson. For his latest title, Private Vegas, the prolific author is using an explosive marketing scheme that also sounds like a fatal liability.

Patterson is vending an experience, whereby, for a cool $294,038, one reader will be invited to an unknown location and given 24 hours to read a “self-destructing copy” of another novel, Hope to Die. If the person runs out of time and the book explodes, “a well-trained bomb squad” will be there to handle the situation.

The experience also includes first-class airfare, a five-course dinner with Patterson, a pair of gold binoculars and “a splendid reading space including perfectly chilled Champagne.”

The site insists that the promotion is real – but makes no promises about the safety of the challenge, which also reportedly includes “flying in a helicopter to the surface of a dormant volcano to make the book explode.” 

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“Just in case,” reads a faintly sarcastic FAQ section, “you’ll need to sign a waiver.”

But Patterson’s less dauntless – and less affluent – fans needn’t feel left out. Right now, the author is distributing Private Vegas e-book download codes to 1,000 lucky fans prior to its release on Monday. Readers have 24 hours to complete the book before it automatically deletes from their devices.

Each reader’s progress can be tracked on a dedicated website, where participants can also “steal” time from one another to make the endeavor more nerve-racking.

“Publishing, in my opinion, needs to get out there competing with everything else in the world – movies, television, etc. etc.,” Patterson, a former ad exec, told Mashable. “It just seems to me I’m in a position to do that.”

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Check out the promotional video below.