Hey Bartender, I'll Do a Shot of Book

Later this year, author James Patterson will release a new line of books he calls BookShots -- cheap and to-the-point to capture and keep customers' attention. Kind of like Jack Daniels.

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By Peter Gasca


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With 156 books published to date and 325 million copies sold worldwide, author James Patterson knows a thing or two about how to get people's attention. So when he announced recently a new line of books aimed at completely turning traditional book publishing on end, marketing professionals should take notice.

Related: Desire for Fame and Wealth are Really Bad Reasons for Writing a Book

Later this year, Patterson will be introducing a new line of books, called BookShots, featuring "new short and propulsive novels that cost less than five dollars and can be read in a single sitting." The goal of his new line is to not only capture the readers who are drifting from the traditional novel formats but also those who may have never adopted them. More important, the line is aimed at overcoming a growing challenge of diminishing attentions spans.

According to a Pew Research Center survey, 27 percent of American adults indicated that have not read a book in the past year. Of course, this does not necessarily indicate that we are not consuming information. On the contrary, we are consuming more, just in much different formats, from online newsletter to games to video. In fact, one survey in 2015 indicates that U.S. adults spend on average 5.5 hours consuming video content every day.

Simply put, in addition to monopolizing our time away from books, digital content continues to erode our focus and attention.

In an interview in New York, Patterson emphasized how these new books would appeal to those who may have abandoned reading because of our fixation with quick, easy to consume content. "You can race through [BookShots]. They're like reading movies. It gives people some alternative ways to read."

Related: Get the Story Behind 'The 48 Laws of Power,' the Book That Influenced 50 Cent, Kanye West and Countless Prisoners

What is Patterson's strategy to appeal to the evolving habits of consumers? His new line of books will be:

  • Shorter: BookShots will be 100 to 150 pages in length, much shorter than the typical 400 to 500 page novels. At this length, readers can consume the book in a shorter amount of time -- before they lose interest and turn on Netflix.

  • Cheaper: The new books will cost under $5, considerably less than the average book from reputable authors -- and about the cost of renting a movie on Apple TV.

  • More plot-driven: Who has time to consume long, dry and descriptive passages? These books are intended to drive the action and get to the climax quickly -- [insert pun here].

  • More widely available: Patterson actually envisions his new line of books being everywhere magazines are sold, even in the checkout line of grocery stores -- apparently between the Snickers and the National Enquirer.

Related: From an Elon Musk Bio to Malcolm Gladwell's 'Blink', These 9 Books Are Must-Reads

For digital marketers, the message is simple: Your message must be concise, easy to consume and deliver value in a short amount of time. This, of course, is something most entrepreneurs already know. With Patterson entering the fray, however, and other authors soon to follow, capturing and keeping consumers' attention will be an even bigger challenge to marketers.
Peter Gasca

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

Management and Entrepreneur Consultant

Peter Gasca is an author and consultant at Peter Paul Advisors. He also serves as Executive-in-Residence and Director of the Community and Business Engagement Institute at Coastal Carolina University. His book, One Million Frogs', details his early entrepreneurial journey.

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