James Patterson: World's best-selling author to release four mini books every month

Patterson announces that BookShots, will be like 'reading movies'

As the world’s best-selling author, having sold over 300 million books, and holding a Guinness World Record for the first person to shift 1 million e-books, James Patterson is no stranger to reaching a global audience. But the prolific American writer is not content with stopping there.

The Alex Cross author has announced he is to target those who never pick up a book by releasing up to four short novels – all readable in a few hours – every month, which will be available from Amazon and local shops.  

Patterson, who famously works with a team of writers to produce over 10 novels a year, has announced his latest venture, called BookShots, will be like “reading movies”.

The shorter, cheaper novels will be released in the US from June at no more than 150 pages. The first publication, Cross Kill, will bring his popular hero Alex Cross to the new format. 

Patterson, who had 19 consecutive New York Times best-sellers, said: “You can race through these. They’re like reading movies. It gives people some alternative ways to read.” 

Scott Pack, associate editor of publishing group Unbound, said: “It’s a sound idea. Whatever your view on his books, he’s brilliant at spotting opportunities in the market.”

He continued: “I like the idea for those who feel like a book to read for a few hours rather than a week. With his name attached it has a chance of success.” 

A total of 21 of the short plot-driven novels are scheduled for release this year from thrillers to romance and science fiction. It is unclear whether they will be published in the UK. 

Pew Research Centre revealed last year that more than one in four Americans admitted to not reading a book in the previous year.

In the UK each year, Quick Reads commissions short books for adults who are less confident reading. This year’s titles include works by authors such as Ann Cleeves and Andy McNab. The charity celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.

For the BookShot venture, Patterson will write some of the books himself and work with co-authors on others. He will not be involved in the romance titles which will be published under James Patterson Presents. 

He wants to target smaller shops where books have not traditionally been sold. Michael Pietsch, the chief executive of Hachette Book Group, told The New York Times that it had been hard to sell novels in groceries and chemists, but that Patterson “has enough recognition that his name can make it work”.

The writer has been criticised in the past for the perceived churn of novels, with some critics equating it to a factory line.

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