Series vs. Serialized

I recently read a book by an author I had heard of through another. They recommended her series as something I might enjoy. And I did…right up to the end. When I got so angry at the author, I will never buy another one of her books.

Why? Because the book didn’t end. It stopped, but it didn’t end. It was a serialized novel. One book split into many sections and sold as a series. But it’s not a series! A series is defined as a set of events, programs, books, etc. each of which is complete in itself. They may contain the same characters and settings, and even an overall arc that connects the stories (like Harry Potter vs. Voldemort) but each one is a complete work all by itself. A serialized novel on the other hand, is not complete until the last book.

And I hate that. Okay, it’s a particular pet peeve of my own, but I really don’t like spending time to read a story only to get to the end and there’s no end. And I have to wait for the next one. I’m okay with it if I know this up front. Tell me that this is the first book of a set that will be continued in book two, three, four, etc. That way, I don’t feel cheated when I get to the end.

I understand that it’s a marketing ploy. If you want to know what happens, you have to buy the next book. But… as a reader, all you’ve done is anger me–and a lot of other people I’ve talked to. We feel cheated when we get to the end of book 1 and find out that it’s not the end. For me…that means forgetting about that story and that author because I refuse to buy any more of her books. (Plus, it wasn’t that great to begin with, but that’s another blog).

Yes, I have purchased some serialized novels from other authors over the years, and bought the entire set. But I usually wait until the entire set is available and then get them all at the same time so I can “finish” the book. But I knew before hand that they were serialized and not a series.

So… your opinion… how do you feel about series vs. serialized novels? Especially when you don’t know ahead of time that they are serialized?

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