Publishers Using E-Book Shorts to Whet Reader Appetite for Longer Form

According to an article in USA Today, publishers are releasing short, inexpensive e-book titles in advance of the release of longer, regularly priced titles to whet readers’ appetites.

Thriller maven Tess Gerritsen, whose Rizzoli & Isles series is the basis for the TNT show now in its third season, released on Monday a $1.99 mini e-book, John Doe: A Rizzoli & Isles Short Story, in advance of her novel Last to Die, due Aug. 28.

Craig Johnson of Sheriff Walt Longmire mystery fame did the same this spring.

Viking released Johnson’s Divorce Horse as an original eSpecial story on April 16. Price: $3.99. In it, Longmire, Johnson’s hero, is preparing for everything from his daughter’s wedding to the upcoming American Indian Days Parade and Pow Wow — all a lead-up to Johnson’s latest Longmire mystery, As the Crow Flies, which went on sale May 15.

“I look upon it as connecting tissue,” says Johnson, speaking from his home in Wyoming. “It’s a good way of providing a bridge between books.”

It’s also an opportunity to feed a voracious, digitally savvy public no longer willing to wait between books. The public appears willing to plop down a couple of bucks for a teaser before paying $25 for the real deal.

Read more at USA Today.

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