08 May 2007
The Harry-est Town in America Contest
Author: J.K. Rowling
Amazon.com is keeping tabs on which town pre-orders the most copies of the the last Harry Potter book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The winning town gets a whopping $5,000 gift certificate (to Amazon.com, of course) donated to a local non-profit organization. As of this morning, Virginia was dominating the competition with 3 out of the top 5 towns. Thus proving, once and for all, that VA is the dorkiest state in the union. Thomas Jefferson would be proud.
Considering that Amazon is going sell millions upon millions of copies of this book... $5,000 is a pretty paltry sum (a.k.a. crappy reward). Then again, cities usually get short changed in these kinds of cheesy promotional stunts. Other past examples of "best-selling book towns":
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Berkeley, California (1975)
Reward: Actor Dennis Hopper agreed to serve as the honorary Director of the Parks & Recreation department for a 12 month appointment. (He made it 3 weeks before running off naked and screaming toward the deserts of New Mexico.)
Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul
Corpus Christi, Texas (1993)
Reward: Your choice of 1) Eternal Salvation or 2) a Big-Ass pickup truck and a case of beer.
Wimpy Creek, Oklahoma (1997)
Reward: Your choice of 1) a year's supply of Kleenex or 2) a punching bag with a picture of Nicholas Sparks on it.
The Origin of the Species
Topeka, Kansas (2004)
Reward: Free matches for the 73rd Annual Anti-Evolution Darwin Book Burn-a-thon.
How to Blow $50,000 in Just 9 Short Months!!!
Cambridge, Massachusetts (every damn year til the end of time)
Reward: A lifetime of crippling student loan debt.
Note: The link to the Harry-est Town in America page was courtesy of Alex "Mayor of Charm City" MacArthur. You may recognize him as Billy Crudup's stunt double in movies such as Big Fish and Almost Famous.