Book Nerd Problems #7: The Mid-Series Novella

Posted April 19, 2013 by Debby in Book Nerd Problems, Discussions / 30 Comments

This is a periodic discussion feature here at Snuggly Oranges about the many problems one can run into as a book nerd.

#7. The Mid-Series Novella

I’m sorry for my recent absence with Book Nerd Problems, but I’m back, and hopefully I can keep up this time. I think everybody and their mother has covered this topic in any kind of book blogger discussion, but maybe you’d still like to see my view on things with a couple of lovely gifs thrown in there.

It’s not just the publishing industry, but business in general. Perhaps particularly in the entertainment industry, with all forms of media, once something is successful, everyone jumps on the bandwagon and exploits it for all it’s worth. We already examined this thoroughly in the post about The Series Plague, but there’s another, perhaps even more worrying trend on the horizon: the mid-series novella. Let me first sum it up with a gif:


Now, if you’ve followed me long enough, you’ll know I’m a bit of a completionist. That’s why it’s hard to get me to start series – once I’m in that world, I want to know everything about it. Every single boring little detail. When I’m a fan, it gets that bad. I mean, I was the girl in elementary school proudly confessing I knew that there were seventeen silver Sickles in a Galleon, and twenty-nine Knuts to a Sickle. Yes. I was that girl. Even the smallest details in world building were unmissable to me.

When I seriously started reading YA last year, I came across a few of these mid-series novellas. My completionist mind REJOICED. All my world building questions answered! More adventures with the characters! Hooray!! I gladly took the time to read Hana from the Delirium series, Six’s Legacy and Nine’s Legacy from the Lorien Legacies series, Destroy Me from the Shatter Me series, The Demigod Files and The Demigod Diaries from the Percy Jackson series, Shadows from the Lux series, and more!

Why not read them?

They’re typically short – never more than 100 or so pages. They give you extra insights. … But here’s the thing. 100 pages still detracts from my reading time. And then I started noticing how bad this trend really was. Not only does it seem like every series gets a novella at some point, but more recent series, like Shatter Me or The Lunar Chronicles, that are still running, are apparently now going to do a novella in between each book?

At what point do we say enough is enough, people?

Having read so many of these novellas before, I can confidently say that they’re pretty pointless. Half the time the story is not remotely interesting, or I just feel that it was quickly thrown together to get some more bucks from fans. My prayers for more thorough world building and characterizations usually go unanswered in favor of just another action-y adventure that is only very loosely related to the main series. And to that, I say…

But what if this trend continues?

When do we reach the point where a novella is suddenly essential to the story, where if you don’t read it, you don’t understand the “main” books? I haven’t encountered it so far, but I feel like we’re just one step away from that. Suddenly, by signing up to follow a trilogy, you’d need to read SIX books.


Being a completionist, I feel guilty not reading the novellas though. I can’t stand the feeling that I might be missing out on something. But in all honesty, I just don’t want a mid-series novella. I signed on to a series in the first place; I know it’s long, the world is complicated, and a lot happens. But the story should be contained within the series itself. And as to the rest – if I’m that big of a fan, I’ll run to fanfiction.

From now on, I, Debby, do solemnly swear that I will give up my completionist ways and only read the mid-series novellas for my absolute top favorite series.

Let’s Talk!

What about you guys? Do you read mid-series novellas or do you avoid them? Why or why not? If you read them, what do you want most to see in them? Is this a positive or negative trend? How far do you think it’ll go? Let me know in the comments!


 ** This discussion post was brought to you by Danisnotonfire. Because only he equals Debby’s awkwardness.

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30 responses to “Book Nerd Problems #7: The Mid-Series Novella

  1. I don't usually like novellas, either, but I still read them sometimes. It just depends on how into the series I am, you know? I really liked the novellas for the Iron Fey books and Destroy Me. It also really helps if the mini-book appears to have some kind of purpose, and hastily thrown together, like you said.
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  2. Ahahahaha Debby, I love you. Seriously. Never go so long without a Book Nerd Problems post again.

    I agree so much with this, it's ridiculous. I've only read one of these novellas – Neverfall – and it was bad. Total disappointment. I realized then that the mid-series novella will never be anything special, never have any shocking plot-twists, because all essential information has to be saved for the actual full length novels in a series, so it's like, What's the point? (By the way, if they start making novellas essential to the plot, I'm done. I will lock myself in my room with only my favorite authors' series, and stick to stand-alones and rereads for the rest of my book fix.)

    Fantastic post, Debby! 😀
    My recent post Delirium by Lauren Oliver – Book Review

  3. I unfortunately have to skip most of the novellas because of two main reasons:
    1. I don't have an eReader (and most of the novellas requires an ereader to read it) &
    2. I'm cheap. $2.99 or $1.99 for a novella that short just isn't worth it.

    I personally think that authors really need to stop with all the prequels and novellas, it's just starting to annoy me now. It's looking more and more like they're doing this for the profit, not because the novella actually enriches the story.
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  4. You know, if novellas we're free, I'd read them all. Why not?

    Or if they were included in the paperback version of books, I might wait to buy those (like the Elemental Series I'm reading right now).

    But paying upwards of $4 for something that takes me ten minutes to read? H-E-L-L to the N-O.

    And I fear, if we continue to make this trend successful, we will reach a point where novellas are necessary to the plot. Which is when I'll start reading series when they've finished and haven't forced me to read their novella.

  5. bookrockbetty

    hahhaha…. this post is freaking hilarious. the gifs are so perfect i can't get over it. i am so in your boat when it comes to novellas! there are way too many other books i need to be reading in between series books– i don't have time for them! but… like you, i feel like i'm missing out— like someone is whispering in my ear that i'm not getting everything out of the series that i could if i'd just give in and read every little word. the only novella i've ever read is 'destroy me' and that was after some insane pressure on twitter! am i glad i read it, i guess so… but could i do without– HELL YES. even after reading it i still didn't lust for warner, but a lot of people said that the novella changed their perspective on the entire series… so after hearing that it's like WTF.. do i need to treat novellas as mandatory aspects of a series? authors need to knock it off– novellas almost feel like junk mail. i can't even deal with commenting on this post i'm getting so angry. so no. i hate novellas and they should be outlawed. IDGAF is the right attitude.
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  6. tigerlilyrachel

    I really hate novellas. I think they're the result of greedy businesses trying to make more money off of us. Businesses know that during that time period where fans are waiting for the next book to be released, they're generally pretty willing to get any information about the series they can. From a business aspect, it is rather smart, but from a reader's perspective just…no. If the information is so important, why not include it in the actual book itself?
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  7. tumblingbooks

    First of all, the guy on the gifs is so cute! lol I'm not a completionist AT ALL. I'm a big quitter. I usually stop after the first book because I just don't feel that compelled to continue. I like the thrill of a brand new story, rather than continuing on. But sometimes I do continue (and even finish) series. I get so upset by novellas! I WILL NEVER READ THEM. I'm so against them.

    I think they're pointless, an excuse to get money from readers, and distracting. Great post! I WAS going to make a post about them, but you stole the words right out of my head (?). LOL 🙂
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  8. Haha, so sorry! I will try to keep doing these once a week, but RL has been crazyyy lately.

    Neverfall is bad? I was considering still reading that one since I love the Everneath series so much. But yeah, novellas are inherently less enticing than the main books, and that just leads to inevitable disappointment.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who will freak if the novellas become essential. 🙂 We can boycott them together!
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  9. Yeah, same. It seemed like a good idea at first but then WOAH overdone much? Maybe if we bloggers can show our outrage together they'll stop doing it unless it really is necessary… but I guess the problem is, they're still getting money from this, and inevitably every author will think it actually is necessary.
    My recent post ARC Book Review: Transparent by Natalie Whipple

  10. Even if the novellas were free, and some are offered for free temporarily, it still takes up time when it's around 100 pages. *sigh*

    Yeah, I'm fearing they'll become necessary too, the line between a book and a novella will become blurred and… ugh. I don't know what I'll do then. I'll just keep crossing my fingers that it doesn't come to this.
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  11. Hahaha, I'm glad I could entertain you! I'm so glad there's someone who also feels that pressure of missing out on something… EEP. And I read Destroy Me too, but I don't think that really added anything to the plot or world building and Warner's POV was just plain CREEPY. Even though I did fall for him a bit in Unravel Me. Destroy Me totally didn't do it for me. I think that's the last novella I read – I stopped after that because it was such a disappointment.

    Haha, thanks for your ranty comment 🙂 It's good to know I'm not alone.
    My recent post ARC Book Review: Transparent by Natalie Whipple

  12. Yeah, good point. I think it's different for book bloggers and normal fans. Consider there's like 2 or 3 series you follow and you don't read a lot aside from that. Then you'd be jumping at the chance to read a novella. Ultimately, I guess those kinds of fans outnumber the blogger/hardcore book nerds and it'll keep creating a good profit for the publishers.
    My recent post ARC Book Review: Transparent by Natalie Whipple

  13. Haha, isn't he adorable? His gifs really just tell this story for me. You're pretty much the polar opposite to me haha, but it's good to know you also dislike the novella trend.

    You could still write your post about it though! I've seen this done before, but there's always some angle that hasn't been taken yet. I swear I'm not a mind reader 😉
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  14. It's not completely horrible, but it makes Cole look like an overly emo selfish a-hole with no personality outside of his obsession with Nikki. If the goal was to make him a more sympathetic character, Ashton totally missed the mark, in my opinion. I'm actually pretending I never read it so I can still love the dose of immortal bad-boy in the trilogy.

    Haha we can start a book blogger/goodreads riot. They'll get the picture then. 😉
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  15. Ugh, I had the same when I read Destroy Me from the Shatter Me series. I feel like that's mostly because these female authors can't write a believable male POV. I mean, Cole (and Warner) are way too bad ass to spend all their time pining over some girl. *sigh* I'll skip Neverfall then. Don't think it's worth my time.
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  16. Judith

    First of all, the amount of Dan gifs in this post just MADE MY DAY! You are just too awesome ♥

    Ahem, but back to the coherent comment I was going to leave (HAHAHAHA right). So back when I wasn't reading as much as I am now and wasn't as invested in any series other than Harry Potter (this was even before my Hunger Games time, so A LONG TIME AGO) I was obsessed. Addicted. Insane. Whatever you want to call it. Because when it came to Harry Potter, I wanted, no, needed to know everything that was going on in this world. I read Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch and Beetle the Bard and short stories and interviews and also fan fiction which technically doesn't have anything to do with the real Harry Potter but WHO CARES I needed to know ever detail! (Yes, I was also that girl who knew how many Knuts were a Sickle.

    And the craziness went on with Lord of the Rings (it didn't help that my dad has all these Middle Earth guides and other books), though I wasn't AS invested in that. But right now I sort of had enough. I don't need to know everything about everything anymore (partly because I don't have time for it anymore) because there are just SO MANY NOVELLAS. It's getting crazy. And yes, I do think that they will be needed to continue the series one day, which would be terrible. I don't like the sound of that AT ALL. Overall, I quite like novellas when I'm invested in a series (Shatter Me, the Lunar Chronicles) but I don't like that they are somewhat necessary. It's just. Ugh. Crazy comment alert again!

  17. Hahaha, I changed the comment system. You can still use gifs, just use a normal HTML tag. I actually didn't have that Dan gif, hahaha, so awesome! 🙂 He's so gifable, and adorable, yep.

    I'M SO GLAD I'M NOT ALONE. Hearing that you were as crazy as I is so comforting, lol. But yeah, with all the reading I do nowadays I just feel like I don't have the time to be a hardcore fan anymore, haha. Even for Destroy Me – I hated that novel, though I love the series. Ugh. asdfjkl; If they become mandatory for series, I will start a petition. I swear. I will. x_x

    I was missing your crazy comment on this one, haha ♥
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  18. amabe0421

    Love your post. That was our topic last week on Book Girls Don't Cry. While I do like some novellas I don't like when they feel necessary to a series. I am greedy and want to know every little extra bit if it's a series I like, but I hate to think that publishers will make a novella a must read to not be lost. Some that I think border on necessary are Radiant by Cynthia Hand and Elixir by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I did really like those novellas because there was a lot of information in them, but I also feel like if you don't read them you might be a little lost on some things in the next book. One that I thought was great that could be read alone, but is part of a series (though not necessary to read) is Pretty When They Collide by Rhiannon Frater. I loved getting to know some of the characters better and getting their story, but it's not like you have to read it if you don't want to. Anyways, now I'm just babbling so I will go.
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  19. As long as it's not required to understand the series, I don't mind the novellas. I do wish they were free, like the ones from Marissa Meyer. It's absurd to spend money on something that is around 100 pages (most of the time even less) I'm not going to read every novella out there, only the ones from series I absolutely loved (like Lunar Chronicles)
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  20. I’m so glad to see this post!!

    I only really discovered the novella trend after reading Crown of Midnight and because I LOVED that book, I devoured all four that were available. If I love a series then I will want to read them.

    But is IS about making a quick buck and I hate it despite being weak and giving in. I don’t understand the point of it!! If it’s so important that the readers need to know, then include it in the book. If it’s not important then leave it alone!! That’s the beauty of writing and reading isn’t it? You construct a novel with what the reader needs and their imagination does the rest? No?
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  21. Totally late to the game, as I got here from your tweet today.

    I love the mid-series novella! I only read them for series I’m super-into–the ones where I need something to hold me over until the next volume.

    I don’t think they’re a new thing–very successful series have had print-published novellas (Princess Diaries) or collections of novellas/short stories (Blue Bloods). The advent of self-publishing and e-only publishing has now made it easier for authors whose series might not have been successful enough to warrant a supplemental print pub to still share this material.

    I look at them like the deleted scenes and extras you get on DVDs. Something that’s nice and enjoyable for super fans, but things that I don’t feel bad about skipping.

  22. I will also point out that more and more are being made available through Overdrive and other library platforms so you can check them out from the library.

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