March 23, 2016

From James Patterson, a new line of books that are “like reading movies”


James Patterson

James Patterson (courtesy of the New York Times)

James Patterson holds the Guinness World Record for the most New York Times bestsellers (he’s sold about 325 million books worldwide), has a dedicated 16-person staff at Hachette’s Little, Brown imprint, launched a children’s book imprint (Jimmy Patterson) for Little, Brown last year, and has donated lots and lots and lots of money to bookstores, libraries, schools, and literacy projects.

For the New York Times, Alexandra Alter reports that Patterson’s latest initiative is called BookShots, a series of inexpensive, plot-driven, novella-length books aimed at “people who have abandoned reading for television, video games, movies and social media.”

When the BookShots line launches in June, books will be available in all the usual outlets—bookstores, online retailers, etc.—but eventually “Mr. Patterson and his publisher want to colonize retail chains that don’t normally sell books, like drugstores, grocery stores and other outlets,” Alter writes. “They envision having BookShots next to magazines in grocery store checkout lanes, or dangling from clip strips like a bag of gummy bears.”

Shorter-length books are a tough category to sell—possibly even more so in non-traditional venues—but Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch thinks Patterson “has enough recognition that his name could make it work.” And the books themselves will be designed to be read in a single sitting.

“You can race through these,” Patterson said in an interview. “They’re like reading movies.”



Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.