Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The New Serial Novels

I just finished a decent YA book called No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz.
I liked the book, the characters were interesting, but in my opinion this book is not a novel. There is no resolution. The story just cuts off. There is an intro to the sequel at the end of the book. It’s a serial.
Now, I don’t have a problem with serials. I like books. I know serials were popular in the Victorian era and that they’ve made a comeback with e-publishing. I’ve read some serial e-books and really enjoyed them, but I paid a ‘serial price’. I bought No Safety in Numbers from a bricks and mortar bookstore and paid the bricks and mortar price. Shouldn’t I get a whole novel for that price?
I’m not criticizing the author here. Unless they self-publish, authors have little to no say in the pricing of their work.
And I’m not trashing series (as opposed to serials). I love hanging out with the same characters from one story to another. But that’s the difference. With a series, I get a full novel and then another awesome full novel with the same characters doing different things.
I wouldn’t complain, except that this trend toward serials seems to be picking up steam. I know publishers are scrambling to make a profit in this changing industry, but as a consumer, I’d appreciate a heads up when I’m buying a serial. I did notice that Penguin put a picture of the cover of book two for No Safety in Numbers on the back of the book with the caveat, The Suspense Continues in the Sequel: So why not move this to the front of the book? Better yet, why not slap a big red SERIAL across the top right-hand corner? If publishers want to drive readers like me to the Big 6 publishers, a little honesty will go a long way.

1 comment:

  1. The Long Earth by Pratchett and Baxter was a very brusque cut-off that screamed "Sequel coming, buy it or never find out what happens". Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins has been criticised for a very similar tactic. Back in the day, even the standard fantasy trilogies used to wrap things up to a certain degree before ending that particular volume (and before anyone says that Tolkien leaves us dangling off cliffs at the end of each of his books, he never actually intended LotR to be published as three volumes)


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