NOTE TO MODS: Though this is about a (hypothetical) book, this is more of an opinion poll, so I put it in IMHO.
Would you spend, say, $8.99 for this book: a book of puzzles (a wide variety: crosswords, logic, word games, math, trivia, etc.) with clues leading to the location of a buried “treasure.” The clues lead to longitude & latitude points, so you could use a GPS to find the treasure. The treasure consists of a piece of plastic with a code number embedded in it; e-mail the code number to the publisher, you’re the winner. The prize is minimal, say $20,000.
Would you buy this book? Do such books exist (perhaps in a different form from what I described)? Have they ever existed?
Nope. What are the chances that the treasure is somewhere near where I live? How much money would I have to spend to GET to that treasure? How much time would I have to spend to get to the area, and then search out that plastic piece? Even if I liked to travel, which I don’t, I’d have to hire a cat sitter, take time off my other pursuits (such as work), and then find this piece of plastic. Also, I have mobility issues…are you going to make this thing easily accessible to someone who can’t climb a tree, can’t walk very far, can’t dig in the ground, etc?
I would and do buy books of puzzles, preferably those with several types of puzzles in them. No prize is needed. And yeah, “treasure map” books with clues in them have, indeed, been offered. I didn’t buy them.
There was a book like this that came out when I was a kid. I’m not sure of the time frame, but it was probably late 70s/early 80s. It was a lavishly illustrated book that supposedly hid clues that led to a secret treasure.
I can’t remember the name. I do remember it got some press, and there was much speculation about whether or not anyone would figure out where the treasure was. I can’t recall if it was ever found or not.
I’m sure someone will be along in the next 5 minutes to tell us what the name of the book was.
At this point, I’d say most publishers would say that the gimmick has run its course. The first time helped sell the book, and probably made some money. But after a few times, the interest wasn’t there.
Prior to be using it as a selling point for a book, advertisers did the same thing. There was a whole series of ads for Canadian Club Whiskey where they hid cases of the stuff around the world and gave hints on how to find them. The movie How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying has this sort of giveaway as a plot point, so it was clear that it had been done before then.