NPR Investigates Serialized Fiction

Many of the hottest TV series’ right now are inspired by books, the most prominent of which being ‘Game of Thrones.’ The latest season has just concluded, leaving fans aching for more. This anticipation has only been stoked by author George R.R. Martin teasing his fans on Twitter. Since there won’t be anything to binge watch for a while, could the void that so many viewers are feeling be filled by books? Publishers want to know.

Everyone in the book industry knows that historically, serialized books do very well. Charles Dickens was among the pioneers in the field, famously releasing his stories in a serialized format before ‘serialized’ was even a term. He certainly aquired binge readers of his own. Stephen King is the most modern example of this feat. He released The Green Mile one small volume at a time. It sold very well and ended up being adapted into a critically acclaimed film, which was nominated for several awards.  

NPR reports that a new program titled ‘Serial Box’ has just been launched. They call it ‘HBO for readers.’ It involves story “episodes” being released over a 10-16 week “season.” Every episode will be written by a team of writers, and spearheaded by a showrunner. Each one will take approximately 40 minutes to read completely; the exact same amount of time it takes to watch one episode of A Game of Thrones. 

Reading an entire season will be the same as reading a complete novel. It is not hard to see where the parallels to television can be drawn. It’s the best of both worlds. So far, four serials have been produced and another is on the way. It’s a fascinating concept, but will it take off? If it does, it could change the industries of both books and television, and push publishing in exactly the right direction. 

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