A recent trend in the book world is publishing a series of short stories in a novella series rather than a full-length novel. This is an interesting concept that I want to explore a bit.
Book series are not a new concept, on the contrary, it leads back to C.S. Lewis’ books about Narnia and R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series just to mention a couple of the more famous ones. There are also plenty of book series in the children’s section, I remember reading the standalone mysteries of Nancy Drew and Enid Blyton’s wonderful group of adventurous friends in The Famous Five series growing up. But these were all novel-length books.
Today’s trend is to have a series of short stories with the same characters in either standalone stories or the same story progressing as in a novel but divided into several books. These novella series are usually e-Books and each story is about 30 to 50 pages long. The first book of the series is often free and the following books are at a low price of £0.99 or £1.99., so in a three book series that will amount to the same price as a full length novel which is usually sold for about £1.99 to £2.99.
There is no doubt that the having the first part of the series for free is a very clever marketing trick. But it is also good for the reader, it gives you a chance to see if you like the author and the series and if you want to read more or not. Readers seem to like this new trend, or it wouldn’t be trending, and I see it in various genres. I like it myself; a series of novellas is like watching a TV series on Netflix. Is that why we like it, that each novella is like a TV episode? Have our brains adjusted to the TV show format? Personally I actually prefer TV shows to movies these days, mostly because the quality of the movies have declined so much and increased so very much in the TV series, stealing the best writers and actors in the business from Hollywood.
Regardless of why some of us love reading novella series nowadays, I think it is great for the novella format as a whole. A lot of readers are staying away from reading novellas, maybe thinking they are too short to get attached to the characters or they may have a misconception of the content having not enough of a story. Maybe this new trend will bring new readers to the novella format and make them read more novellas as well as novella series? What do you think about this new trend? Hit or dis? Feel free to comment!