James Patterson says he’ll “disrupt” reading by writing shorter books

Pattering around.
Pattering around.
Image: AP Photo/ Steve Mitchell
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A new venture from publishing juggernaut James Patterson is being sold as the “Uber of books.”

“I’m a disruptor,” the massively prolific, bestselling author announced in a press conference this morning (June 6) as he introduced a new line of books. They’re called Bookshots, and the great promise of each is to be a plot-driven book under 150 pages that costs less than $5.

These aren’t novellas, Patterson clarified, nor are they just short, regularly paced novels. Rather, he said, reading a Bookshot is like “reading a hit movie”—fast-paced, economical, with no meandering. His first two Bookshot titles, published by Little, Brown, will be available tomorrow, and will include Cross Kill, a new installment in his popular Alex Cross series. So far Patterson plans for Bookshots to publish thriller, romance, and non-fiction.

Patterson, one of the world’s highest paid authors, won’t write all the titles himself, but he does claim to have outlines for over 80 new stories.

If short, face-paced novels don’t seem particularly novel, that could be because innovation in publishing doesn’t seem to resonate with readers. Profitable book and reading ”disruption” hasn’t born out: Speed reading apps had a moment a few years ago, as did snack-themed ebooks, but neither has stuck. So perhaps Patterson would do best to call these what they are—short, fast reads. If his track record is any indication, he’s sure to sell books.