On Thursday, I reviewed Cross Kill, the new Alex Cross novel by James Patterson. This book is the lead-off entry for Patterson’s BookShots initiative. Patterson had the idea of writing shorter books, making them fast paced, and charging readers only $5. I like the idea of creating smaller, faster reads for folks who may not have read a book since high school. That’s certainly not me, but I have come along for the ride.
Now, granted, novellas are—because, let’s be honest, that’s what BookShots are—nothing new for us readers and writers. My first published book is, basically, a novella. I’m currently writing a western novella. They are a good length. Long enough to get a decent story, short enough to get through in an few hours or an evening. Plus, depending on your reading speed, spending $5 for a BookShots book is cheaper than a movie ticket and could last longer. Nothing wrong with that.
The variety of titles being published and scheduled so far is another nice thing. Patterson’s major characters are getting a BookShots entry. Romance is heavily represented with the newer trio. I bought Little Black Dress mainly because I wanted to read a romance title that Patterson considered good enough to be the lead romance title for BookShots. You what happened there? I, a reader, decided to sample a genre I don’t normally read. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
That’s what I hope BookShots does for the public: Provide a good selection of titles and genres and let people try them out. I had never read a Patterson book, but I’m certainly going to read more because Cross Kill propelled me forward as a reader. Patterson’s a veteran in this business and it shows.
But what I’d really like to see are BookShots book stands in Starbucks. At the checkout line at grocery stores and drug stores. At Wal-Mart or Target. The days of the spinner rack of paperbacks (or comics) at the corner convenience store are gone. Maybe BookShots can be a step to get them back. That might be pie in the sky thinking, but I’d bet money that a thought like that ran through Patterson’s mind when he conceived of BookShots. Works for me.
What I really hope happens with BookShots is for people who haven’t read a book for pleasure in a long time to spend $5 and pick up a book and read it. Enjoy it. Then realize a missing component in their lives. More readers lifts all readers and writers.