This post follows up on a little mini-rant on twitter the other day about how every series now comes with little novellas between books.
I pretty much hate these extra stories. I’ve read a few (Wicked Lovely’s Stopping Times and Old Habits; Delirium’s Anabel, Hana, and Raven; Newsflesh’s Countdown; Fallen’s Fallen in Love) and I’ve decided I am not reading anymore. Here’s why.
They rarely move the story forward, but instead add a level of detail to a character or an event that wasn’t included in an actual official book in that series. Or they tell the same story from someone else’s perspective. They are not necessary to the story.
As such, they seem like a money-making scam. It seems like publishers see how much money a series is bringing in and decide, let’s see how much money we can get out of these suckers. Now, I know that publishing is a for-profit industry and no one is in it just for the joy of books. I am happy to pay for a book. But do I really want to shell out another $2 for a few dozen pages every other week? It’s sort of like how I feel about the new trend of breaking the last installment in a book series into two movies. You, movie studio, are only doing that to make money. Admit it.
They make me anxious. To be fair, all of the books that exist in the world that I want to read already make me anxious. But if I add all of these little novellas to my TBR pile, it’s certainly not helping things. There is simply not enough time in the world for me to keep up with every series I am reading AND read those 40 extra pages that no one thought important enough to actually put in the book. But skipping them also makes me anxious. I loathe reading things out of order. And skipping something that might have the tiniest chance of being important to the story makes me nervous. So it’s a lose-lose here on the reading anxiety front.
I can see why some people might like them (you do get even more of your favorite series, right?), but these people must have different priorities from me because every series seems like it is doing this and I just can’t possibly keep up.
- The Lunar Chronicles has 3 novellas.
- Shade (Jeri-Smith Ready) has 2.
- Newsflesh has 4.
- Divergent has 5.
- Across the Universe has 1.
- Shades of London has 1.
- Daughter of Smoke and Bone has 1.
I would list these as some of my favorite series. But I will not (and, really, cannot) read 17 novellas plus all the ones that have yet to be published. I just won’t. (Okay, I’m a little tempted to read that last one because I love Zuzana so much).
So, I’m putting my foot down. I can’t make the publishing industry stop this trend, but I can stop taking part in it. Unless JK Rowling wants to write one for Harry Potter, or unless someone makes a really compelling argument for an exception, I won’t be reading anymore of these things that are not really part of the series. Publishers, if a story is really important, please make it a real book.