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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008 4:49 pm
I’m Too Depressed to Write a Headline for This
Posted by: Keir Graff

Poor James Patterson. His last book for young adults, Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, only sold 192,000 copies. He doesn’t feel badly for himself, mind you–he feels badly for all the unfortunate youngsters who somehow didn’t get the opportunity to read his book. From the New York Times (“An Author Looks beyond Age Limits,” by Motoko Rich):

Mr. Patterson said that if he simply wanted to make more money, he would have developed another adult series. "I just am convinced that there aren’t enough books like this – books that kids can pick up and go ‘Wow, that was terrific, I wouldn’t mind reading another book,’ " he said of his "Maximum Ride" series. "The most important thing to me is that more kids read these."

Fortunately, his publisher has a plan:

As a result, Little, Brown has asked booksellers to commit to keeping the new "Maximum Ride" book – along with "The Dangerous Days of Daniel X," the first title in a new young-adult series, due out in July – at the front of their stores as long as Mr. Patterson’s adult titles usually stay there, in the hope of luring more adult buyers.

Here’s what makes me nervous–Little, Brown and Patterson have a point:

According to market research conducted by Codex Group on behalf of Little, Brown, more than 60 percent of the readers of the "Maximum Ride" series are older than 35.

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