Can you sell a book about celebrity-linked thieves, murderers and rapists when the darkest chapter is missing, but available for free online? Simon & Schuster is about to find out.
The publisher's Simon Spotlight Entertainment division (sample title: "Pimpology: The 48 Laws of the Game") spiked a chapter from Mark Ebner's "Sex Degrees of Paris Hilton: Inside the sex tapes, scandals and shakedowns of the new Hollywood." Apparently the imprint wasn't comfortable with the story of how an escort- and porn-party- pimp was busted for child pornography — even in a salacious book with police tape on the cover.
So Ebner is now offering the chapter free on his website. The author, who has three books under his belt, clearly hopes the giveaway will drive sales of the printed product: His free chapter ends with a plug for the book and a link to the Amazon listing.
That might appease Ebner's publisher, but who knows if it will work. Readers might just decide they don't need to explore Hollywood's underbelly further after seeing the worst of the worst.
Still, we're all for more experimentation in the book industry. And for the fact that the free chapter delivers a lesson important even for the law-abiding: Do not give your hard drive to a technician unless you're OK with that person looking at every last bit it contains:
Never one to overlook the opportunity for profit, Danno asked Dillon if he could pop down to the nearest Taco Bell and bring them back lunch. (Dan is a man of apparent appetites.) Left alone in the house, he took the opportunity to clone Dillon's hard drive. "I knew he was working with Nici, and I knew there was a buck in it in finding out who all his clients were," says Danno. "Business was slow. I was essentially performing the same function for him that the technician did on Tom Cruise's computer who stole all the pictures off it to sell. The only difference is, I didn't try and sell them on the Internet. Any time you surrender your computer to a technician, you know shit will happen."