Feed on

From the Final Exit Network newsletter, Vol. 20, # 3, Summer 2021:

A right-to-die icon spoke from the grave (kind of) and gave a living RTD icon a big
sales boost to a best-selling book, Final Exit.

Oscar-winning Nomadland (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress) includes a passing reference to
Derek Humphry’s ultimate DIY guide for self-deliverance.

At the 37-minute mark of the film, a person is having one
of many “slice of life”-type conversations with a new friend
who suddenly appears to be sick. The friend explains that she
has small-cell lung cancer, that it has metastasized to her brain,
and that her doctors have given her seven or eight months to live.
Then she says, “I have this book called Final Exit
by Dr. Kevorkian. Some people call him Dr. Death.
It’s like various ways that you can end your life if you
need to. It’s kind of like a recipe.”

It was a recipe for a run on the book. Suddenly,
sales of all versions doubled, then tripled – all due to a
surprise mention in Nomadland.
The paperback sold out, and Random House
reprinted it by July 1.

“It was not pleasing to have the most successful of
my 13 books attributed to someone else,” Humphry
mused. “But the reason appears to be that the book’s
title is better known than my name, while Dr. Kevorkian
remains famous for the 130 people he helped to die.”
(Kevorkian died in 2011.)

The author error made no difference because the
book title name is well known, thus easily found by
searchers. “It is rare for any book to be mentioned in
a movie, especially a book as controversial as this,”
Humphry said.

Final Exit has never stopped selling since it first
appeared in l991.  Back then, Humphry had to publish it himself,
under the imprint of the Hemlock Society.  To huge
surprise, it became a New York Times #1 best-seller,
remaining on that list for 18 weeks. There were 10
translations.  Sales have continued for 30 years (constantly
updated) as a paperback, ebook, Kindle and audio.



Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.