Bookshots a Better Bet for Audio?

December 8, 2016

Watching the rapid fire publication pace of Patterson’s new original paperback series (plural) called Bookshots, I’ve noticed a definite pattern. An example is The Christmas Mystery, a Luc Moncrief Mystery.  Currently, the *book* has only 3 holds on 12 checked out copies.  Meanwhile, fourteen customers are in line for our four audiobook copies of this same title.  In the future, depending on the appeal of the particular series, which seems to vary greatly, I’m aiming for about equal number of print and audio, probably just over or under 10.  It will be interesting to see if these have sustained demand in future years.  The more I think about this the more it makes sense.  Print bookshots are cheap and portable, so can be bought on a whim if desired.  On the other hand, the typical Bookshots audiobook (four little discs in the case of the Christmas Mystery, totalling a nicely digestible 300 minutes) is probably a great fit for daily commuters or weekend trippers to Portland or Vancouver, searching for a bite-sized audiobook they can actually finish in one long trip or a week’s worth of commutes.

On second thought, it also appears some of the titles that came out this  summer (e.g., 113 Minutes) already are languishing a bit several months later and perhaps won’t need many copies in any format.  Is this phenomenon the literary equivalent of a sugar rush?
The Christmas mystery : a Detective Luc Moncrief storyPublisher Summary: In the heart of the holiday season, priceless paintings have vanished from a Park Avenue murder scene. Now, dashing French detective Luc Moncrief must become a quick study in the art of the steal–before a coldblooded killer paints the town red. Merry Christmas, Detective.





Patterson, James with James O. Born. Hidden : A Mitchum Story. [January 3, 2017 – 3 holds on 9 print copies – 6 holds on 6 audio]

Hidden : A Mitchum StoryPublisher Summary: Rejected by the Navy SEALs, Mitchum is content to be his small town’s unofficial private eye, until his beloved 14-year-old cousin is abducted. Now he’ll call on every lethal skill to track her down–but nothing is what it seems….


6 Responses to “Bookshots a Better Bet for Audio?”

  1. Marta Says:

    I’ve been seeing an increase of SF/F publishers like Small Beer Press and Tor have been releasing shorter novels or Novellas/ Novelettes. (Romance has been doing this for some time as e releases.) Are any of them offering audio?

  2. Darren Says:

    That’s a very good question. I’d like to look into that and maybe experiment with some of those shorter audiobooks, too, to the extent they’re available. I think the biggest question is long-term demand. Are these shorter works mainly about a one-time fix around publication time? If so, being timely about buying them is more important than getting lots of copies or backfill replacement. Also, short works may be an area where demand in the e formats is different/maybe stronger and will require more proactive attention. Thanks for this lead and I welcome input from everyone as you’re getting a sense from your customers how we should approach these. One definite advantage of them is they are inexpensive.


  3. Michelle Lundquist Says:

    While I seldom take long trips, and my commute is about 10 minutes long, I am a fan of downloadable fiction audiobooks. The ability to listen to a book as I cook, clean, garden, etc. makes these tasks more enjoyable. I don’t usually look at the length of the book to make my choices. I DO pay attention to who is reading the book, as the narrator chosen can make or break my enjoyment of the book.

  4. Darren Says:

    Thank you for this input. I agree most audio listeners use the same criteria you do to select them, but I wonder if the Bookshots audios are an exception given that the print edition of the same content is not much more in demand, which seems unusual. It’ll be interesting to see if more short audios of novellas and so forth are produced. That will probably depend on how these sell I suppose.

  5. Marta Says:

    The narrator makes a difference for listener enjoyment and there’s certainly narrators who make a book.

    When it comes to which short works go audio, it may depend on the viability of the commercial market for that author. James Patterson is so popular and so prolific (he’s like a TV producer with a writers room) that he’s released into all formats (except paperback) when a new title comes out.

    Just out of curiosity, I just did a search on (a eAudio subscription service) for “novella” to see what popped up. I’m probably getting more YA and SF/F than others might because of titles I’m often searching Amazon for.

    I think Audible is changing the audiobook economic ecosystem because it makes it affordable to listen to a ton of books.

    I found novellas written by bestselling authors whose works are now on TV Gabaldon (Outlander) and Corey (The Expanse) but also some solid-sellers in genre fiction Shalvis (Romance,) Bowen (mystery) Hearne (urban fantasy.)

    I was super surprised to see John W. Campbell Jr.’s 1938 novella “Who Goes There?” It’s the novella that the movies The Thing are based on. (1982 by John Carpenter is the best.) While it’s classic golden age SF, I didn’t think there would be a demand for it in audio.

  6. Darren Says:

    Very interesting research – thanks!

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