Question: What Do You Think of Serials?

Posted April 3, 2014 by Carmel in Question / 57 Comments


Personally, I’m not a fan of the new serials format. I have a hard enough time as it is waiting for the next installment in a series without having to do so after each chapter! One cliffhanger per novel is enough thank you very much—let alone 30+. Oooh, THE HORROR!

As per one of my previous question posts, I suffer from what a commenter called “book amnesia” meaning I often forget what happened in previous installments. Reading a new chapter every week or month would make the task of remembering story lines even more complicated, not to mention the logistics of reviewing them. Do you review each serial or wait until the full-length novel is out? And, then there’s that pesky memory issue again… how do you review a book when you read the earlier chapters months ago? It seems to me like serials would increase the number of re-reads I’d need to do, and that just doesn’t work for me.

There’s also the cost factor to consider. I’m not sure I’m on board with buying 4 serials for $0.99 a piece, instead of the full-length book for $2.99. Now, I know that extra dollar is minimal, but there are some instances where I’ve seen a $8 price difference between the serials and the complete novel. That’s the cost of a book! As a reader, I don’t see any advantages to serials other than getting a constant influx of writing from your favourite authors. And, I’m just not that big of a fangirl.

What Do You Think of Serials?

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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57 responses to “Question: What Do You Think of Serials?

  1. I just read my first serial a month or so ago, and I really enjoyed it! With this particular serial however, there were only 3 installments and they came out a week apart, so the wait wasn’t too bad and I wasn’t being left with 30 some odd cliffhangers. I think serials where the wait is longer than a week would likely drive me crazy. Patience is not something I excel in, and like you Carmel, I tend to forget the details of what happens in a book fairly quickly, so it would be a constant struggle trying to remember the events of the previous installment.

  2. Bob Milne  

    I’m not a serial fan either.

    I get the appeal of serials, in that they’re like episodes of your favorite TV show, but I read at a much different pace than I watch, and with a different level of focus as well. When reading, I want to be immersed in the story for as long as possible, with the need to sleep or work being the only thing to determine when I take a break.

    • That’s a great way of explaining it. Reading is so unlike watching TV, yet authors/publishers are taking steps to make them similar. For me, it just doesn’t work.

  3. when I first heard serial .. I thought of soap operas LOl but I get series burned out by book 7. I think that if its more than that …than its time end it or I find another book . Like the BDB I read the books and enjoyed the early ones, but I wait to read the others now.

  4. I haven’t read a ton of them. I don’t mind them on blogs (i.e. Clean Sweep), but if you are charging for them and the price is going to be more than the cost of a full book, it seems to be a ploy for more money. The only review serials I’ve done were for Clean Sweep, which I did as a complete audio and The Professional, which I did each individually. It was hard to write a review for a less than four hour story, plus adding a paragraph for the narration which was basically the same. If I get another serial for review, I would do it all at once with one review.

  5. Don’t like them. At. All. I loose momentum in between books and then overall, I don’t get the same satisfaction. I have read two serials from two of my favorite authors and was surprised at how I lost a lot of motivation – maybe because I became distracted by the books I was reading while waiting.

  6. i agree with you completely Carmel. It makes me mad to read a blurb and want to read the book and then realize it’s a serial. I have never even been tempted to read one even if it sounds really good!

  7. I couldn’t agree more! I haven’t even tried one because the concept is so not enticing. I have such a hard time getting to all the books I want to read – dragging out 1 book like that just won’t work for me. I have gotten so that I don’t even read a lot of the novellas in series I like because I just don’t have the time, so I’m just not even going to consider getting into a serial. I may read it once its finished though.

  8. I can’t say I’m a fan either! The only serial I tried to catch up with, I failed miserably after a couple installments. I just can’t wait so long between new content, I either become increasingly frustrated that I don’t get to find out what happens RIGHT AWAY or I grow bored and forget about it completely. With the serial I tried to follow, I ended up just buying the entire collected book after they were all released, And I enjoyed it so much more that way.

  9. I completely agree with you. Continuing to read a chapter at a time with a cliffhanger is annoying. AND paying more for each section than the full book will cost when it is released as a “collection” is just wrong.

  10. The only serial I’ve read is The Professional by Kresley Cole and I was honestly disappointed with that. I think it was partly because of the serial format and partly because I just did’t like the book itself. It did make it very hard to review though because I enjoyed the first installment and hated the two following it…so I fely like I recommended a book to readers and then misled them.

    I also feel like with serials, and novellas, I’m being nickled and dimed. I don’t read novella’s because I don’t think they are really worth it. I just feel like the publisher is taking advantage of me. I know this isn’t rational. If you buy a novella you’re getting a short story so you got something for your money but novella’s don’t necessarily further the overarching story and if the novella was important enough it would have been included in the book itself.

    I don’t think I will be reading any more serials now. I will just wait for the full book to come out or ignore them entirely.

    • It’s completely rational! Whenever I feel like I’m being taken advantage of as a reader, I have no problem quitting that author for a while. I get that they have to make money at their craft, but overpriced novellas & serials are NOT the way to go IMO.

  11. I have only read one serial and I jumped in half way. The price wasn’t an issue it was 2.99 for the whole thing. You paid one fee and got the installments every week. However, I hated all the cliffhangers and I much prefer to sit and read it all. I am not a big fan of serials or novellas.

    • I’ve seen a few where you can pre-pay for the serials and it works out to the cost of a regular book. That’s more reasonable, but it doesn’t seem to be publishers’ preferred MO.

  12. I’m a little mixed on serials. I remember my first one and that was Stephen King’s The Green Mile (anyone else remember that was originally released serially) that was years ago and at the time I thought it was the only way I was going to get it so I dutifully headed into the bookstore each month to pick up the next installment. It worked in that I was completely on edge waiting to get my hands on the next. But lately, I would really rather wait until it’s issued as the full compilation so I can read it all in one setting.

  13. Christy

    So not a fan. Even if the pricing were great, I still wouldn’t be. I don’t like how they stop and I have to wait for the next part. It’s not like we’re even getting a whole story and waiting for the next book. I usually pass them up unless they are all together. Even then I’m not 100%.

  14. I’m with you! I don’t usually go for the serial. Price factor + book amnesia… and yeah, but I’ve tried them. I’ve actually enjoyed the serial format of Songs of Submission by CD Reiss, but then I read them all back-to-back, still paid more than I wanted to, but at least they were all already published. 😀

    • I think I’d like audio serials more than eBooks, because I prefer short listens. But, audiobooks are already expensive, not sure if I’d be willing to fork-out the cash for episodes if there’s a big price difference from the full version.

  15. I’m not crazy about the cost factor either but for those that you pay one price and then the others download (without extra charge) I am okay with.

    Honestly, I usually just wait until all of them are out before starting them. I am not a huge fan of cliffhanger (is anyone really?) so I like to have them all there before beginning them.

  16. I think it’s interesting but haven’t gotten into it. The cyclical nature of the format is interesting to me though. It’s how many novelist got their starts and very Victorian (though I dislike the Victorians as a rule). As a comic book reader it doesn’t bother me that much because I buy a few chunks of things at a time. I have to wonder though – this is a way for authors to survive in a world of cheap e-books that have very little finical payoff? If it is, I’m willing the pay the extra to keep good authors writing.

    Jessica@The Bathtub Reader

    • You raise some valid points however, I think it’ll take some doing to get readers to accept this new format. But, then again, look how quickly eBooks took off. I guess you never know!

  17. Meh. I get so frustrated when I’m reading a book and it just…ends. But, wait! It didn’t really end, that’s just the end of this PART and, if you want to read more, you both have to wait and pay for the next bit…and the bit after that.

  18. Not a fan! Which really isn’t surprising since I am not even really a fan of novellas. Don’t get me started on the open endness of each book till the final one. They aren’t for me LOL

  19. cagnes

    I’m not a fan of them either. I don’t object to the cliffhangers or serial aspect per say, mainly to the ones that end up priced higher than traditional novels. The higher pricing seems gimmicky to me, like the author is out to make a quick buck & as a reader I feel ripped off.

    If they’re going to do serials, I think they should offer boxed sets that are priced reasonably, in line with regular novels. That way the peeps who like serials & don’t mind paying more to get the story quicker can purchase the books individually. The frugal readers (like me) can wait for the boxed set & not feel cheated… everyone’s happy! 😉

  20. This is the first time I have even heard of serials and I agree with you. I don’t think it would be for me. When I read a book, I want to carry on to the next chapter. I am the same with series, I prefer that the entire season is out before I watch it.

    Interesting post!

  21. I’m not on board either even though I haven’t even read one. But you made some good points–most of us read 15-20 books per month so how in the world are you supposed to remember something that happened in a short amount of pages last month? O.o Plus all the cliff hangers? I couldn’t handle them all. Also, yeah! How would you reveiw them indeed? If you review them each then you may give too much away since they’re so short. Idk, I just don’t get the point of them.

    • Maybe they are better suited for readers as opposed to bloggers? Just because of the logistics involved in reviewing them… *shrugs* Either way, it sounds like a nightmare to me.

  22. Yeah, I totally agree about the cost aspect (AND the book amnesia), and I’ve seen a lot of serials marketed that way—with those, IF I’m interested, I wait until they’re all out and buy them in a bundle which is typically cheaper. There was an Eloisa James serial awhile back that was bundled together and went on sale for $0.99, so I got the whole thing for the price of one of the individual parts. BUT I’ve also gotten seen/gotten serials that were pay up front, like Seanan McGuire’s Indexing. It was like $1.99, I think, and each time McGuire posted a new installment, it would automatically download. Either way, I still wait until everything is published (b/c book amnesia). And it’s not something I’d normally be interested in. I just make exceptions for my favorite authors 😉

  23. I would rather just wait for the full length book to come out. I wouldn’t want to wait week by week or month by month for this. As you said we all read series and we have to wait long enough for those to come out all the time so I couldn’t imagine tons of cliffhangers.

  24. I haven’t encountered any book serials so far. Is it the same with series books? If what I understand is correct, then serials is a chapter by chapter release? It looks like a comic version then. I read comics/manga which are released weekly or monthly and I have no problem with it. Besides, their comics are included in a magazine which are usually published every month.

    However, if it’s a novel type then I’m not sure I will be enthusiastic about it.

  25. Pabkins  

    No I am definitely not going to be reading any serials. I do short stories from time to time but thats it – finished in one little package.