Impatient Readers Lead to Rapid-fire Series Release

This post by Sadie Mason-Smith originally appeared on the Melville House blog on 2/12/14.

On-demand services have not only changed the way we watch television shows, they’ve affected our expectations of all media. Instant gratification and binge-watching have affected the consumer model, and the publishing world is taking notice. Julie Bosman reports in The New York Times on a new trend in the industry: publishing release dates for series are getting shorter. Editors like Farrar, Strauss & Giroux’s Sean McDonald are catering to the ravening hordes of but-I-want-it-now readers by shrinking the release dates between installments from a year to a few short months.

According to McDonald, these readers are more than just Veruca Salt imitators—they’re scared. “You can end up with angry and perplexed fans,” he said. “I think people are more aware of series storytelling, and there is this sense of impatience, or maybe a fear of frustration. We wanted to make sure people knew that there were answers to these questions.”

That sound you hear in the distance is George R. R. Martin laughing diabolically. Probably while killing a beloved character. Fans of serials have long been subject to the perfectionist whims of their favorite authors. Who can forget J. K. Rowling’s extra months of work as each successive Harry Potter book took an incrementally longer time before release? Who, even now, is on the edge of their at-this-point-worn-down seat for the last installment in Robert Caro’s Lyndon B. Johnson biographies, a five-book project that has been in-progress since 1982?


Click here to read the full post on the Melville House blog.