Is This “Self-Destructing” Book The Future Of Reading?

Author James Patterson’s new thriller might be a sign of e-books to come.

image via youtube screen capture

I’ve never read anything by James Patterson, author of the massively popular Alex Cross series, as well as numerous other bestselling thrillers and mystery stories. But, after hearing how his latest book is being promoted, I’ll admit, I’m intrigued. For Patterson’s upcoming Private Vegas, marketing company Mother New York rolled out a campaign that is charmingly novel in the immediate, and has the possibility to be much more impactful in the long term.

As Design Boom reports:

… [T]he famed american author has decided to take the usual eagerness of peeling through the pages of one of his novels to an unprecedented level. adrenaline-loving enthusiasts will have to race against the clock for the ‘most thrilling reading experience ever’ — a self-destructing book that disappears in just 24 hours.

A gimmick, to be sure, but an interesting one. As Mother New York explains, there are two routes thrill-seeking readers can take. The first, humorous (and expensive):

For $294,038 one lucky reader will be able to purchase the book along with a private trip to an undisclosed luxury location, a 5-course dinner with Patterson, gold binoculars to read from a safe distance and a SWAT team for book handling.

But it’s the second option that has, I think, the potential to be much more than a one-off promotional trick. Continues Mother New York:

The second version is a free, digital book released through a web application. 1,000 readers in the U.S. will have 24 hours to race to the end of the book before it disappears in an arresting fashion.

Can’t finish the book in less than 24 hours? Tough. It’s gone.

What's more, the 1,000 readers who are selected for this pre-release opportunity (the book goes on sale to the general public next week) are able to track one another’s progress through the book’s website, and even “steal” time from other participants to “add more tension.” Suddenly, the act of reading a thriller becomes, in and of itself, a thrilling experience. But while the self-destructing Private Vegas is only available for a select cohort of pre-release readers who have requested download codes from the book’s site, the possibilities raised in this instance could be used to enhance the overall experience of reading e-books for everyone in the future.

Imagine, for example, an e-book that isn’t temporally constrained, like Patterson’s, but is instead affected by the geographic location of the reader – chapters might remain locked until you arrive at a certain place or places. Or books for which progress is conditional upon the reader’s completing puzzles or tasks related to the plot – in essence “gamifying” what it means to read a book.

It is, for some, a possibility that would ruin what would otherwise be a relaxing past time. For others, a book’s extra-textural elements could transform reading into a more visceral, immediate – and ultimately, pleasurable – experience. Either way, I’m willing to bet that a 24 hour “self-destructing book” is only the start.

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.


Four black women, Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan, worked as "human computers" at NASA during the Space Race, making space travel possible through their complex calculations. Jackson, Johnson, and Vaughn all played a vital role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

They worked behind the scenes, but now they're getting the credit they deserve as their accomplishments are brought to the forefront. Their amazing stories were detailed in the book "Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race" by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was later turned into a movie. (Darden was not featured in the movie, but was in the book). Johnson has a building at NASA named after her, and a street in front of NASA's Washington D.C. headquarters was renamed "Hidden Figures Way."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News
Courtesy of John S. Hutton, MD

A report from Common Sense Media found the average child between the ages of 0 and 8 has 2 hours and 19 minutes of screen time a day, and 35% of their screen time is on a mobile device. A new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, found exactly what all that screen time is doing to your kid, or more specifically, your kid's developing brain. It turns out, more screen time contributes to slower brain development.

First, researchers gave the kids a test to determine how much and what kind of screen time they were getting. Were they watching fighting or educational content? Were they using it alone or with parents? Then, researchers examined the brains of children aged 3 to 5 year olds by using MRI scans. Forty seven brain-healthy children who hadn't started kindergarten yet were used for the study.

They found that kids who had more than one hour of screen time a day without parental supervision had lower levels of development in their brain's white matter, which is important when it comes to developing cognitive skills, language, and literacy.

Keep Reading Show less