In the 1950s, bestseller lists were partially based on the number of requests for a title at bookstores. So nighttime deejay Jean Shepherd hatched a plan to throw a wrench in this system by having his listeners descend on bookstores en masse and ask for a non-existent book titled I, Libertine
. Requests for this title, relayed by puzzled bookstore owners, eventually made their way to publisher Ian Ballantine who (once he figured out what was going on), decided it would be interesting to publish I, Libertine
as an actual book. Author Theodore Sturgeon was commissioned to write it, and the book was released to stores (for real) on Sep 20, 1956.