James Patterson’s new book set to self-destruct

October 7, 2022 – 09:43 am

(Courtesy of Little, Brown)His new novel, “Private Vegas, ” blasts off with a flashy marketing scheme that offers one copy of the book for $294, 038.

“Too much, ” you say? Don’t worry, you’ll get more than Patterson’s breathless prose. The buyer of this special copy of “Private Vegas” will also enjoy:

• A first-class flight to an undisclosed location.
• Two nights stay in a luxurious hotel.
• 14k gold-plated binoculars inside a fine-leather case engraved with Patterson’s initials.
• A five-course dinner with Patterson.
• The whole Alex Cross book series autographed by Patterson.

But even if you don’t have $294, 038 to spend on Patterson’s latest book, 1, 000 lucky readers can enjoy the thrill of watching it disappear. “Private Vegas” will be offered as a self-destructing app for the iPad. Once you begin, you’ve got 24 hours to finish, and each page disappears — forever! — as you turn it.

Those 1, 000 panicked e-readers will be able to track each other’s progress and “steal time” from others. According to Little, Brown, the app is “designed to bring the thrill of reading James Patterson’s book to unprecedented heights.”

Patterson says, “The brilliant ad agency, Mother, came up with the outrageous idea of the self-destructing book. But I must admit, I was a superb, dream client.”

For a man who’s spent so much money trying to preserve indie bookstores, blowing up a book might seem counterintuitive. But Patterson is modest about his own work. “I don’t know if my books qualify as treasures, ” he says, “but they are very fast, exciting reads. They are meant to be read in 24 hours — or less.”

If your interest falls somewhere between spending 24 hours or $294, 038, you can always buy the regular old hardback for $28. But what fun is that?

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.

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