Elliott's story hits on a number of important points. First, author platform isn't just about who the author knows, it's who those people know, and in turn who the next level of people know, etc.
Second, I love it that the only requirement to participate in his pre-pub lending library was that you had to agree to read the book and pass it along to someone else. That's it. I would suggest taking it one step further and asking everyone who reads it to also post a review of it. That's not asking much given that they just got to read a book for free.
Third, how about the total cost of the promotion? It was $800 plus the cost of the free copies. Talk about ROI! How many PR campaigns cost 10 times that or more and don't produce anywhere near the same results?!
Finally, I love it that the author took such an active role in this. He tracked the books and did the in-home tours. (Speaking of which, this Tupperware Party-like approach is still as effective today as it was 40 years ago.)
Kudos, Mr. Elliott. I hope your book becomes a bestseller!