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Kindle Serials

May 7, 2013

I’ve been reading two different Kindle Serials for the past week or so. A Kindle Serial is, in essence, a story published as a series of episodes; you buy the serial up front (they tend to be cheap; $1.99 seems to be the standard price) and then episodes automagically show up every couple of weeks as the author writes them. They harken back to old newspaper serials such as The Three Musketeers or The Count of Monte Cristo.

While I like the theory behind bringing back serialized novels (it seems like fun, right? Get new sections of the story delivered regularly, building suspense as you wait for each new episode), in practice I have to confess they’re not as fun as I thought. Two reasons. One, I’m an impatient bastard and don’t like waiting. That wouldn’t be a major issue by itself, but the second reason is that I’ve usually always got a backlog of things I want to read. If I run out of episodes for a Serial I’ll switch to reading something else while waiting for the next episode. And when the next episode arrives I’ll probably be deep in that new book and it won’t be a good time to switch back to the Serial. So it’ll be awhile before I get back to it, at which point I may have forgotten some of the details for what was going on.

In short, I suspect Serials worked better when people didn’t have such easy access to so many great things to read. Good for the 1800s, problematic for today. I’ll finish out these two Serials, but I suspect I won’t buy any new ones. Unless I get them right before the last episode or two, at which point they might be complete by the time I near the end.

From → Books, Musings

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