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Read this James Patterson book in 24 hours, or it will self-destruct

Choose between $300,000 for a self-destructing physical copy of "Private Vegas," or try your luck at getting a self-destructing digital version with a 24-hour countdown timer.

Self-destructing "Private Vegas"
This copy of "Private Vegas" needs to be handled by a bomb squad. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

There's a very special advance copy of James Patterson's new thriller "Private Vegas" up for sale. The extremely limited edition of one book is selling for $294,038, but you can't keep it in your library. It's designed to self-destruct. And you'll need to sign a waiver.

The book comes with a complete package arranged for a Patterson superfan. It starts with a flight to "an undisclosed location" and includes champagne when you get there. Expensive champagne, presumably. A bomb squad will hold the copy of the book open for you while you read it using gold binoculars. Then, you get to watch the book blow up before having a five-course meal with James Patterson, an American author best known for the Alex Cross detective series. Ridiculous? Absolutely. But it's a doozy of a publicity stunt.

Is $300,000 a little much for you? Fans also have a shot at 1,000 digital copies of the book delivered through an iPad app. Random readers are given a code to redeem for the book. Codes will be dropping periodically over the next few days at selfdestructingbook.com.

Each digital copy comes with a 24-hour countdown timer. When the time's up, the book disappears. The book's website shows which readers are currently devouring the book, how far along they are, how much time is left, and the speed at which they are reading. Readers are also encouraged to report their stress levels while reading, starting at "goosebumps" and ramping up to "heart attack."

pattersonapp.jpg
This app has an expiration date. Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

I attempted to get one of the digital copies of the book, which turned into an adventure in its own right as I was initially thwarted by a failed Facebook connection in the Chrome browser on my iPad.

I tried Safari, made the connection and then repeatedly got a "Mission Unaccomplished" notice when I tried to select a code. On a last-ditch effort, I netted a code using my desktop browser. If the book itself as exciting as the process of getting one, it could be a good read.

There's no going back with the special digital copy. You swipe a page and it goes poof forever. A digital representation of flames eats each page as you move through the book while a timer up top reminds you how you need to read fast. Even worse, random visitors to the selfdestructingbook.com website can steal time from your countdown, squeezing the life out of your precious reading moments.

While you can certainly order a regular copy of the book for yourself when it comes out on January 26, there's something both fun and a little stressful about having James Patterson threatening to steal your book away in just a few short, tense hours.

(Via The Guardian)