Paying people to read your book: The ultimate content marketing plan?

james altucherBy Mark Schaefer

James Altucher is an entrepreneur, investor, business adviser, and author of one of the most clever and entertaining blogs on the Internet, Altucher Confidential.

His latest idea is just as irreverent, crazy, and creative as his writing. He is paying people to read his book … or at least paying them back.

On his blog yesterday, Altucher announced that he would pay people back the price of his new book, Choose Yourself, if they sent him a receipt and prove that they actually read it (even if that is just taking a picture of yourself reading the book). Or, he would donate the money to a charity.

By all accounts, James does not need the money, but I still think this is one of the most outrageous marketing ideas I’ve seen in awhile. He is building his personal brand — perhaps building a movement for his ideas — at almost any cost.

Chris Anderson’s path-finding book Free hypothesized an economy built on giving stuff away.  Altucher isn’t giving his book away for free because he surmises that you wouldn’t read it. But paying you back is the next best thing, right?

This is not the same as creating a free eBook. Since Amazon and other retailers will still get their cut, Altucher would lose nearly the entire retail price of the book on every person who took him up on the offer.

Any way, this struck me as a bold idea — something the average person certainly couldn’t sustain — but a one-of-a kind content marketing idea that deserves some recognition.

At the very least, the idea got him some coverage on {grow}.  The real value of this is $2.93 according to my latest calculations. But hey James, it’s the thought that counts, right? Plus, I’m going to buy your book and not even ask for the money back.

What do you think about the idea? Is this the beginning of a new book marketing trend, or just plain crazy?

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