Publishers Want to Bring Binge Consumption to Books

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Binge-watching came, saw, and conquered television. Now, the binge is coming to a library near you, as book publishers are looking to make "binge-reading" a thing.

Call it "a TV approach" to publishing, as editors at St. Martin’s Press did to the The New York Times. While developers and companies looked for the "Netflix for Books," the real contribution of Netflix to the book publishing world has been its all-at-once rollout. It's got publishers wondering: Why make people wait 10 years to read all of the Harry Potter books when you can gobble them up all at once?

That's the message book publishers are hearing loud and clear, and so they are closing the gap between book releases. The practice began with the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, which were all released in paperback over the course of several months in 2012. Even the one-year waits between the books of The Hunger Games and Divergent are proving to be too long. Inter-book periods are being measured in weeks, now, rather than months. New authors are expected to work at Stephen King-like paces, it seems.

“With the speed that life is going these days, people don’t want to wait longer for a sequel," Susan Wasson, an Albuquerque bookseller told the Times. "I know I feel that way. When I like a book, I don’t want to wait a year for the sequel.” Curling up with a book and living in that world for a day isn't new, but for a whole book series? There's a big difference between a binge of every episode in a day, as Netflix allows, and a binge of a series of books over several months. But still, the point remains: people want resolutions, and they want them ASAP.

Recommended Reading

The obvious outlier here is George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. The notoriously slow writer has taken longer and longer to write each book in his seven-book series, and the 65-year-old still has two more to go. Those long periods of inaction have contributed to an active online community and highly anticipated releases, neither of which have hurt Martin's bottom line.

Of course, writing the world of A Song of Ice and Fire is a bit different than penning the bedroom dramatics of Christian Grey, so Game of Thrones fans will have to wait.

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This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.