Starting this past September, Amazon began releasing new items called Kindle Serials. Instead of buying the whole book at once, the consumer buys the book a portion at a time. With a tagline like “Great reads, one episode at a time” it is hard to ignore the advertising angle of making the action of reading seem similar to the action of watching a television show. But perhaps that is why the format has never really disappeared from artistic culture: the suspense created by waiting is a pleasure in itself in both television and books.
While the genre of serialized fiction is nothing new, it is certainly not as common a format as it was in the past. The use of serialized fiction was highly popular in periodicals beginning in the 19th century. It was a form of entertainment that literate people were willing to spend money on as available leisure time increased with inventions. In the advent of one of these inventions, the television, there came a demand for a new kind of entertainment by installment, one that kept a scene or storyline visually going for the audience. Nowadays most shows are installments of 30 minutes to 60 minutes once a week.
It will be interesting to watch this new fad play out; the revitalization of serial fiction may prove to be an important player for the somewhat struggling market of publishing in the years to come.
Below is a link to Amazon’s Serials library: