Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bookshots Could Change Reading Patterns

Mass market paperback sales have nose-dived since ebooks began to flourish.  But there may be a comeback plan for compact books.

Little Brown, a division of Hachette Books, recently announced it will work with mega-best selling novelist James Patterson to launch a new imprint, Bookshots.

Over 100 new titles will be published – all for the rock-bottom price of $4.99.  Each of these books will run about 150 pages.  Patterson has written over 20 books for this new line.  His latest novel, featuring his well-known character, Alex Cross, will help kick-start the new imprint with a 500,000 – copy first print-run.

Though all of the books will be fiction, one will be non-fiction, In Their Own Words, Trump vs. Clinton:  Everything You Need to Know to Vote Your Conscience.

The publisher says if these books do well they will go back to selling them in drugstores.

The price point for a paper book is cheap, but it’s great if more paper books start to sell and from more locations than usual.  But the fact they are limited to a certain page length concerns me on two levels.  

First, we don’t want to equate length with price. Books are not commodities based on paying per pound.  Second, the fact these books are shorter can change our reading habits.  Many novels are double, and some triple, the 150-page limit.  Could our reading habits and preferences change, which in turn will alter how writers write for their readers.

Publishers, like all companies in all industries, put out products they believe consumers will want.  They look to diversify their offerings and have something for every price point. But book publishers need to be mindful of not underpricing the market by engulfing it with inexpensive paperbacks.

Book prices vary greatly.  Many hardcovers have a list price around $30, but are usually discounted.  Ebooks are all over the place, from 99 cents to $12 or $15.  Audio books have a big range as well. As long as magazines cost less than some books, the low-end price book-marketing is fine.  The higher-priced books will simply depend on reader preference and expendable cash of the consumer.

Bookshots could take off and this may prove to be a boon and burden for the book industry. Like all changes to the marketplace, time will tell if this is a winning or losing move.


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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