Thoughts on Thursday: The Battle of Series vs. Standalones



Series or Standalones? 


One of the age-old questions.

OK, not really, but it is a serious blogging question. Some people get all bent out of shape over silly things like people’s reading preferences, but I feel there is a serious camp for series in the blogging world.

Almost all of those books that are on everyone’s Waiting on Wednesday posts and grace the upcoming TBRs and those much anticipated next-year’s-releases are series books, or books by authors who have previously written a much beloved (or hyped) series.

I feel like standalones are lessening. In the last year, a good 75% or more of the books I read were part of a series, whether I realized they were or not. Many I thought were standalones recently released at the time I read them, and they have now turned into series.

Are all the good men gone? Are standalones a thing of the past? Why? Why is it I feel this way?

Is it easier for publishers to push books in a series? Is this the “easy way out” for authors to continue sales and an income? Is it harder to write a standalone, build an entire world and setting, develop such rounded characters, and then walk away from everything at the end and start completely anew?

Do we even like standalones anymore? I want to say for me the answer is yes, but in the past I’ve made it known that I am kind of anti-series.

Let’s be real, though. Look at my Goodreads shelves for last year. Hardly any of them were standalones (except for the children’s books). Do I even like standalones anymore?

I don’t even know. Legitimately, I don’t know.


How do you feel about series and standalones?

Do you find yourself exclusively reading only one or the other?

12 thoughts on “Thoughts on Thursday: The Battle of Series vs. Standalones

  1. It definitely seems like there are less standalones out there now. Every book is connected to another book either through characters or setting or something. I don’t think I have strong opinions either way on the series or stand alone. I love knowing I’m going to get more of a side character I like in a romance and sometimes it’s easier to read a mystery where I already know the setup but I don’t think I really make decisions of what to read based off of it being a series or stand alone. Great topic! I hadn’t really thought about this.

  2. I prefer series, especially where families are involved. What I don’t like anymore are series (2 or more books) about the same characters (a la 50 Shades). Used to love them, now they bore me. I just want one book about characters and then to see them pop up in future books about other characters.

  3. Great discussion! I probably prefer standalones — it is REALLY hard to make a series good throughout its entirety and for all of the books. I am usually let down. Better to focus on a standalone that the author makes great. I HATE companion books in almost all instances though!

  4. My ideal is always to read the whole book in one sitting, two at most. I don’t like being taken out of the world and having to get back into it. For this reason, I like my series already completed! I just read Six of Crows, thinking it was a stand-alone. I loved it, but by the time the sequel comes out next fall, it will be hard to jump back in with the same level of familiarity I have right now.

    Overall, it’s a bit like movies vs. TV shows. You get more time with all the wonderful things in a longer series, but you run the risk of meandering plot lines, dropped threads, a ridiculous reversals just to keep the thing going a little longer. Overall, my top choice is a really great series, but for just a “good” book, I’d prefer a stand-alone to a series.

  5. I love a good standalone although I will say sometimes when I read one if I really like the characters, I want more. So maybe I don’t know what I want lol. I’ve also read a few duologies lately which are nice because you get more but it’s done after two and you’re not waiting forever. I’d like to see more of that. But I do like series too…

  6. This is well-timed for me 🙂 I just recently posted about my love-hate relationship with series-es(?)(Wait, what’s the plural of series?)
    Anyway, I’d say you got it right on several points. I’m not an author, so I can’t say definitively, but I’d think that it probably much easier to sell a book in a series– readers already kind of know what to expect from book number 2 or number 52, so there’s less chance of picking up (and paying for) something you don’t like. And as someone who occasionally writes for myself, it is difficult to walk away from a world or even just a character after all of the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into creating them. Shoot, sometimes as a reader it’s even hard to walk away from them when it’s over!
    I don’t really lean toward either camp though, I’ll read whatever… as long as it’s a good book!

  7. Sometimes I get sick of being in the same world and prefer standalones. However, I will say, I think the majority of the books I read are series. There’s something about the comfort of knowing the characters, their world and the author’s style for that group of books.

  8. I like both, so long as they are well-written. I do feel like stand-alones are often higher quality writing though. Some of my favorite authors who write stand-alones are Elizabeth Camden, Julie Klassen, and Katherine Reay. Thanks so much for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday this week!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.