This Day in the History of Hoaxes: August 1
August 1, 1956: I, Libertine Revealed
In the 1950s, bestseller lists were partially based on the number of requests for a title at stores. 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 the title eventually made their way to publisher Ian Ballantine who (once he figured out what was going on), decided to publish I, Libertine
as an actual book. A month before the book's release, the Wall Street Journal
revealed the hoax, and the resulting publicity helped boost its sales. More…
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