Sunday, March 3, 2013

Young Adult : Sold Separately

Young Adult : Sold Separately

by Jess & Kat

Reading a young adult series today is like getting Barbie and then having to buy her friends,  accessories and Malibu Dreamhouse. Authors and publishing houses tempt readers between book releases with extras such as; e-novellas, graphic novels and bonus content for their favorite series. Sure, the extras open up the world 
created by the author but at what cost to the readers ?

Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series are all around champs at creating extras. First published in 2007, this  popular YA urban fantasy has it all; graphic novels for both series, The Shadowhunter Codex-- an in series reference book, a collection of essays about the series and even a short story collection about a side character written by other YA authors. This doesn’t include bonus scenes Clare posts on her website and the characters tweets.

And most of these extras are not cheap. The Shadowhunter’s Codex, the book based on a book the character own in the series (INCEPTION !)--is being released as hardcover for $19.99 and the graphic novels come retail at 15.99.

Not all YA books have the density to expand like Clare’s series can. The trendiest extra in the YA world is the e-novella; short stories sold solely in digital format that generally tell a side story from the original novel. Seriously, look at just about any YA imprint and you are bound to find a e-novella or two.

Harlequin Teen’s  Iron Fey series included three novellas and their newest series, Blood of Eden just released a prequel novella in January. Penguin’s Neil Shusterman released Unstrung, a novella of his book Unwind  to prepare for the sequel release.  A big example is Bloomsbury. They sold four prequel novellas  to Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass to help readers better understand the plot and world of the novel.

In other words novella = hype. It gets readers excited about the series again.

This trend that clearly isn’t going anywhere, if anything it’s growing. HarperTeen recently announced HarperTeen Impulse, a line of e-novellas from popular series and original short stories. The website encourage readers to “be impulsive and read them all”.  

Yes, the YA readers have disposable income and sure, these extras are about $1.99 here but at some point it has to add up. How much will it cost to have a complete reading experience ?


  1. I've noticed the upward trend of novellas too. Nine times out of ten I end up not reading them. Sometimes I feel like they take away from the central story more than add to it. I don't know why I feel like that!

  2. I feel the same way. I mean the only one I've read is the Prequel to J. Armentrout's Covenant series.

  3. This novella trend is really interesting to me. Initially, I didn't think I would ever want to read the novellas. But as a huge fan of the Throne of Glass series, I just had to have them - and I just like that I get extra insight into some of my favorite characters :)

  4. I really enjoyed reading this! You make a very valid point. Admittedly, I haven't read many filler novellas/short stories, but I shouldn't have to to understand the story. I just want the authors to tell me all I need to know in the actual story, rather than also having to rely on additional materials. It's a waste of my time and money and also their time, when they can worry about their actual books instead and add little bits of info instead. Or at least that's how I feel about it.

  5. We used to get this with popular series, where they'd bind up background info and short stories and then release it in print. I like this trend, as many authors have all these material anyway, and if you're a fan, it's great to see it. You shouldn't have to read it to understand the story (and most of what I've read is supplemental, not necessary) but it's still fun to read. I think of it like all of Tolkein's appendices.

    It does add up, but that's what the library is for! My library has just started adding these short stories and novellas to their collection-- it's great!


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