The I, Libertine Hoax and how demand creates supply

SFFaudio Online Audio

“‘Gadzooks,’ quoth I, ‘but here’s a saucy post!'”

WFMU RadioToday BoingBoing points to a vintage 1968 WFMU radio interview |MP3| with Jean Shepherd who, in the 1950s, promulgated a seemingly unstoppable hoax designed to lampoon the spurious bestseller book lists and their adherents. Shepherd asked his late night audience to visit their local bookstore and ask for a copy of I, Libertine, a book that didn’t exist.

The I, Libertine hoax is like something out of Gravy Planet (AKA The Space Merchants)! Shepherd had equipped his listeners with a plan, a plot summary, and an author with a whole fake biography. The furor created by the phony demands for the seemingly very scarce book led to reviews (both positive and negative) by regular folks and the book critics who claimed to have read it, or to have even had lunch with the imaginary author.

Then, Ballantine Books, sensing a pre-sold market, commissioned none other than Theodore Sturgeon (!) to write the novel everyone was clamoring for. Sturgeon nearly banged it all out in one “marathon” typing session before collapsing onto Betty Ballantine’s couch. She responded by finishing the novel herself.

One thing not in the story, there’s a FREE AUDIOBOOK version of the book available! Seriously!

Check it out out here…

I, Libertine by Frederick EwingI, Libertine
By Frederick Ewing; Read by Jim Campanella
13 MP3 Files – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Uvula Audio
Podcast: 2006

Amd there’s podcast feed for it:


Posted by Jesse Willis

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