Saturday, January 5, 2013

Saturday Discussions: Novella Editions for Published Books

Lately I've been seeing a trend everywhere. It's so popular in fact, that Harper Teen created it's own house for these ebooks. And the trend is for authors to release short stories based on their novels that are already out. Off the top of my head I can think of Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi, Roar and Liv by Veronica Rossi, A Dance with Darkness by Courtney Allison Moulton and Radiant by Cynthia Hand but there are many more of them.

While I love that we get more story, I'm still not sure how I feel about this new trend. How about you?

See for me there are some major pros:

  • We get more time in the world we love
  • We get back story
  • We get novellas in other character's perspectives
  • It gives us a little something to snack on while we wait for the next book to be released
All of these are really awesome points. But I remember a day not so long ago when these bonuses were earned by the fans for promoting a book or RTing a tweet. These were offered as a reward.

Onto the cons:
  • We have to pay for them (not as much as a full novel and it isn't really terrible but it is extra money out of our pocket)
  • Readers might feel obligated to fit yet more to their TBR piles
  • I wonder if it is necessary?
As I writer, I can totally understand writing a scene from another character's perspective. It offers us insight into why others characters are going to act the way they do. It forces us to think outside the main character's head. I've done this a lot but I don't know if I'd feel right charging for it. I guess if people want to read it then it's worth releasing. Also, I doubt many writers have a say as to if it's going to be free content or charged for since they sell the rights to the work when they enter into an agreement with their publisher. So to be clear, I'm not angry with these writers at all. I'm just pointing out that it does cost us more money if we need a fix.

My biggest concern about these books is that it puts us as readers under more of a time constraint. My TBR pile is already awful and now I'm adding even more because I feel like I have to read the novellas before I feel like I can dive into the next book of my favorite series.

Also, say I happen to really like a story? Well currently these novellas are only offered as ebooks so there is no way I can snatch a copy and add it to my shelf. Heck, these things are half the reason I wanted an e-reader in the first place.

Basically, I can see the appeal of these novellas and I do really like them but I can also see some of the cons too. What do you think? Are you for novellas or no?


  1. These have been around for a few years in the crime fiction genre, mainly as monetised marketing. A new book in a series is coming out so they release an ebook which usually includes an extract of the forthcoming title. In an environment where people are becoming used to paying pence for ebooks it sort of makes sense. I don't begrudge publishers and authors charging for these digital shorts myself. They need to make a living.

    It's unusual that they add much to the ongoing storylines though so I don't think they need to be read in order to fully enjoy a series.

  2. I think though novellas aren't practical, they are still fun. I think the pros outweigh the cons. In my case, I don't feel like it's a burden to read one more novella because I only read them when I love the series. So if I love the series, I wouldn't mind making space in order to fit it in my schedule. I don't bother with novellas from series I don't really care for.

    Well,that's my take on it :D

    Gellie @ A Discombobulated Balladry

  3. I completely agree. I suppose I wouldn't mind so much if the Novellas (if multiple were released) were bundled and sold in paperback but I really hate having the main books in physical form and then having the novellas on my e-reader. I feel like I need to purchase the books in digital form just to have a complete set on my "shelf"

  4. I agree with pretty much everything you said. I was excited when I heard of these novellas, and I have bought a couple, BUT I honestly have no idea when I'll get to read them. And do we HAVE to read them? Will we be missing vital information or details if we don't read it in order? I certainly hope that is not the case. I am already a slow reader and it takes me a few days to get through one novel. Adding these novellas in the mix makes me push them on the back burner. Hopefully someday I'll get to them, but for now if they are no detrimental to the story, I must hold off. Maybe when the series is over and I am anxious for just that little bit more?

  5. I haven't read any tie-in short stories but every author I have read this year has done one..not sure how I feel about it..I don't always want to know exactly what a character was thinking in scene...I like some degree of ambiguity!

  6. Personally I HATE ebook novellas and avoid them out of principle. I will not read them! It's not a real book! If an author can't weave the backstory into their books then they're not doing a good enough job.
    Ebook novellas are everywhere at the moment like you say, and sometimes thing creates a lot of confusion. I get all excited when I see a listing for what I think is another installment in a series, but then actually it turns out that it's just a fake mini book!

  7. I agree with you. The best one that I have read is Neverfall by Brodi Ashton for her series. First, it's in Cole's POV, which you don't get in the novels. Second, it's brand new story that adds a lot to the series. I am sure the reader will get part of this as backstory in the next book. But who knows. It certainly added texture to the series. However, otherwise, I haven't read one that really held my interest. Great post!

  8. I guess I'm on the side of novellas or shorts, although most of them are just available for ereaders, and I still think a lot of readers don't have them yet. But in the case of Unravel Me- it's what convinced me to read the next book in the series. I liked Shatter Me, but I'm not a huge fan of Juliette. And while Adam is hot, he bores me and I can't get why he's in to J. But Warner. I loved Warner, and his story was amazing- so I'm on board with the next book in the series.

  9. This isn't a trend I've taken advantage of, and I don't see myself doing it anytime soon. I can see how it might be appealing to die hard fans of the series, but I'd rather save my $2.99 and apply it to a future full length novel. Or a malt from the Swiss Treat ice cream shop down the road.

    - Jackie


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