NEW YORK – James Patterson, already among the world’s best-selling authors, plans to shake up the publishing industry with the launch of his new novel, “Private Vegas,” which will self-destruct within 24 hours.
A deep-pocketed fan willing to spend $294,038 will be flown to an undisclosed location for a meal with Patterson, the author of “Unlucky 13” an “Cross My Heart,” and receive a copy of the book ahead of its launch on Jan. 26.
A special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team will also be on hand to handle the explosive thriller.
Also as part of the promotion, 1,000 fans will be able to download free copies of the book from the website selfdestructingbook.com. Each book will have a 24-hour digital timer that cannot be paused or cancelled.
“Twenty four hours after you start it, the book will no longer be there,” Patterson, 67, said in an interview. “I hope this spurs more ways to get attention.”
As more book stores are closing, Patterson said it is increasingly difficult to draw attention to books, so publishers need to be as imaginative as film companies.
Unlike the film industry’s red-carpet premieres, Hollywood luminaries and huge advertising budgets, book launches with signings and readings are a more staid affair.
“The publishing business needs to compete,” he said. “It needs to compete with movies and the Internet.”
Patterson hopes to prod the U.S. publishing industry, which generated $27 billion in net revenue in 2013, according to the Association of American Publishers.
“This seemed like a terrific way to draw attention to a book in a way that has never been done before,” he explained. “In the history of publishing there hasn’t been anything like this.”
“Private Vegas” is the latest in Patterson’s ‘Private’ series featuring Jack Morgan, who discovers a murder ring in the gambling mecca.
The novel will be available for regular purchase after the special launch, which was the brainchild of creative agency Mother New York.
“Hopefully this also opens up different opportunities just in terms of how we can push the boundaries in publishing in general,” said copy writer Jose Funegra.
Patterson, a fixture on the U.S. best-sellers list, has sold more than 300 million books worldwide, with fictional psychologist Alex Cross among his best known characters.
In addition to his more than 100 novels, Patterson has written books for young readers, including the Middle School age group.
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