Ever heard of shortbooks?

Today a German software engineer asked me how he might find English language short books. Up to that point I hadn’t heard of short books. It turned out that those are audio books containing a summary of a recently released books. Interestingly enough this new type of book seems to be quite popular in Germany.

What about you – have you ever heard or even tried short books?


TOEFL listening lectures: A lecture from a social science class[YSaerTTEW443543]

I don’t know about short audio books. I think I’d get bored, because summaries of books tend to leave out the most interesting detail.

I can tell you, however, an interesting marketing story in this regard:

In the 1990s someone named Stevens W. Anderson came out with a book called Compact Classics that contained one- or two-page summaries of the most famous novels in history. It didn’t sell well. Then the publisher came out with a new edition. It was the same book, but the title was changed to The Great American Bathroom Book, and it became a very big seller. Not only that, but two more volumes have come out!


That reminds me of the “Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader” series. Apparently the 19th book is set to come at at the end of this year. :lol:

Well, the interesting thing about shortbooks is that the concept seems to have gained at least a decent level of popularity here in Germany. Such innovations usually originate in the US and it sometimes takes years until the Germans follow the trend.

Maybe this time it’s the other way round? By the way, that German company uses the English word shortbook to promote their products…[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening lectures: A university lecture by a professor of Physics[YSaerTTEW443543]

Are you sure shortbook is an English word? For decades they’ve been called “condensed books” in the US.

OK Jamie, let’s say it’s a new word made up of two English words pretty much like airbag.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening lectures: A university lecture in the Social Sciences Department[YSaerTTEW443543]

I was thinking it was something more like “handy”. On the other hand, it could wind up like “Walkman”, which is a Japanese word that caught on in the English-speaking world. :smiley:

Interestingly enough there is little London based company (as of now it seems to be a one person show) called ‘shortbooks’ or rather ‘short books’…[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening lectures: Which characteristic of Ireland does the professor utilize in his lecture?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Are these shortened books meant for English learners? Would they be like graded readers (also called ‘simplified/easy readers’)?