At Book Expo America in New York today (Friday 29th May), Hachette Book Group c.e.o. Michael Pietsch, Little, Brown publisher Reagan Arthur, and bestselling author James Patterson are announcing the launch of “jimmy patterson,” a children’s imprint which "aims to save lives" by making kids into lifelong readers.
Patterson, whom Pietsch describes as “a man on a mission” (and independents who have benefitted from Patterson’s largesse can second that) will give his profits from the venture to further children’s literacy.
Pietsch described his mega-selling author, who holds the Guinness record for bestselling titles, as the “ideal” founder for such a new division, “with his deep commitment to reading and let’s-solve-this-problem approach.”
The new line promises “not just to publish compulsively readable books” by Patterson himself, but also books by other writers, and to provide resources, programmes, skills and opportunities that in Patterson’s words, “will go to scholarships for teachers, helping bookstores to survive, helping school libraries in their time of great need, and increase the reach of ReadKiddoRead.com (Patterson’s pro-reading website).”
He will also distribute books to kids who can’t afford them, and wants to “identify the right books for each child” by celebrating “a compelling diversity” of voices and experiences.
The first book will be published in September – it is the third in Patterson’s already-established Treasure Hunters series - and the aim is to publish eight to 12 books a year.
“If I could wave a wand I would love to hear that Amazon is devoting itself to becoming the saviour of reading across this country. And that McDonald’s is promoting reading in all its restaurants. And that Walmart and Target are dedicating the book sections of their stores to the noble task of getting kids reading better,” Patterson declared. He can’t – but the former advertising executive is using his brand and clout to do what he can. And who knows, maybe others might listen.
The jimmy patterson imprint is currently US only.