If you’re going to write a book about Osama Bin Laden planning to drop a nuclear bomb on the US on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 – you probably want it to come out a year or so before Bin Laden is killed rather than two days after.  Unfortunately that’s what happened to New York Times bestselling author Richard North Patterson this spring with his latest book THE DEVIL’S LIGHT.

Though the book was favorably received, the Bin Laden issue was definitely noticed and commented on by many.

Patterson talked to the New York Times this weekend about the book and his plans to make it right. “I’ve had 15 best sellers in a row at this point, and I knew within a minute that this would not be one,” he told the Times. “It was glaringly obvious to me.”  So now what?  Well, Patterson has decided to do something that has never been done before.  He’s revised the book, fixing the Bin Laden parts and is re-releasing it in eBook form tomorrow.  The revised edition will also be released in paperback, but not until next year some time.

It will be interesting to see how the publisher and retailers handle the new release.  Unclear if they will give it free to people who have already bought the original book.  I’m also wondering if they’ll make it clear to potential purchasers of the existing hardcover version that a newer version exists?  At least I don’t have long to wait since tomorrow is the day.  That said, this does make me curious to read BOTH versions.  Maybe the whole thing was marketing genius!  I can just imagine the conversation:

Marketing Genius 1:  “Like – how can we get customers to buy 2 copies of our new book and keep the buzz going about it for months?”

Marketing Genius 2:  “I know we’ll get an author to write a book about Bin Laden being alive and having evil plans.  Then we’ll have been Bin Laden found and killed.  Then we’ll release the book two days later.  THEN we’ll have the author re-write and re-release the book”.

Marketing Genius 1: Brilliant.

Okay, so that probably didn’t happen.  But the re-release is kinda brilliant.  Would you read the first version?  What about the re-release?  Would you read them both?  I’m not sure I have that kind of time to invest – but I really am curious!  Maybe one of you can read both versions and let me know how different they were.  Just a thought.

— Dana Barrett, Managing Editor