Why I Don’t Read Novellas

I’ve noticed more and more authors releasing novellas in the young adult market. They squeeze these mini books in between books in a series (or as prequels/epilogues).

Some people love these novellas because it gives them something exciting to read while waiting for the next full book.

Sadly, I’m just not much of a fan.

I like long books

I love getting completely immersed in a book for a long time. I like having time to be introduced to the story, the characters, and then spending seemingly forever with them while I watch everything slowly unfold.

With novellas.. they’re just too short (for me).

There’s not enough time for me to get invested

Either I have a problem getting invested at all, or as soon as I do get invested, it’s time for the book to end.

There’s simply not enough room for that slow built up I love so much. It’s too quick, too shallow, or just not satisfying enough.

I don’t even try to read novellas anymore because I’m usually just setting myself up for disappointment.

How do you feel about novellas? Love ’em? Avoid ’em?

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I'm a 28 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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24 comments

  1. I’m not a fan of novellas either. I only read them if I think they contribute to the overall story – which not a lot do. They’re usually just side stories or random backgrounds about characters that I had very little interest in in the first place. I think the only one I remember enjoying was a novella for The Night We Said Yes because it was all about what the male character was doing prior (which mattered to the story). They kind of just seem like cash grabs to me :/ I feel like I’m getting harsh now haha

    1. No, you’re not being harsh! I mentioned this in my comment, as well! Sometimes they ARE cash grabs! (Again, no disrespect to authors who really put their souls into a novella.) But I know for a fact authors are sometimes asked to write them, or the 99 e-book short stories, for marketing reasons, and it’s really made me less interested them.

  2. There are two reasons as to why I read novellas: Either I’m trying to get a taste of the series and decide whether or not it’s worth to invest my time in it or I really like the series. I’ve read two novellas this month. One of them is Amber Sky, a prequel novella from the Dark Sky series, and I loved it. Conclusion: It sounds like an amazing series and I would love to pick up Crimson Sky sometime soon. The other was Two Graves, the first volume in the Retribution Series and that one left me with more questions than answers. It was just a whirlwind of confusion. Conclusion: Not gonna invest any more time in it.

  3. Not a huge fan either. I try to stick to just the regular novels. The only author that I read novellas for anymore is Kathy Reichs and her Temperance Brennan series because I love this series.

  4. I feel EXACTLY the same way about novellas! They are just TOO short! I absolutely avoid them. I always look to see how many pages the eBook has and if it has under 150 pages, I’ll not get it. I typically like to get them with over 200 pages though (lol), the longer the better! Like you, I like the long books! The more time I can invest in a book, the better I love it!

  5. I don’t read novellas. I’ve done enough publishing internships to, unfortunately, have walked away with the impression they’re just marketing gimmicks. I mean no disrespect to the authors because I’m sure they do put heart and effort into them, but it’s difficult to really see them as art after being in meetings where publishers brainstormed what authors they could ask to write e-novellas to boost sales.

    Like you, I’d rather read a whole story, and one the author is really committed to and really wanted to tell–not one that was proposed to them. I also dislike short stories by most modern authors, and I think many writers who are good at novels are not so good at shorter form writing.

  6. I think that my main complaint concerning novellas are that they are too short and very few of them add anything to the actual story that cannot be added as a brief flashback or in some other manner. The one that I can think of currently is “The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner” – the one from the Twilight series…I honestly don’t understand the purpose of developing a minor character more, much less one that doesn’t really affect the outcome of the story. There are plenty of great novellas…”Of Mice and Men”, “Animal Farm”, “The Old Man and the Sea” to name a few – and I think that what makes these great is the fact that they stand alone, they weren’t written to add to a larger story.

  7. Hi Ashley,
    actually, it depends on the novella or better said the series/trilogy they belong to. I read some (most of them I bought) but I don´t like what they cost. In my eyes, the prize is often way too high compared to the pages I get. I don´t see any sense in paying for only a few pages (mostly between 60 and 100) one, two or even three Dollars, Euro, Pound whatever. But I think they are a nice way and kind of a good marketing strategy to keep the waiting fans of an series or trilogy happy. And some of them are actually fun *smile*

  8. I’m also not a fan, both of reading and of writing them. I’ve noticed a lot of authors on Google Play Books just publish novellas, and they’re major disappointments because they don’t have a lot of room to work with.

    I dislike writing them, because I’d rather write a full story than just provide a snippet of something. 😔

    I think the only time they work is when they’re purely a standalone story, or a small update of where characters are now.

  9. I’m not a huge fan of novellas either but sometimes I tend to enjoy them. I love a reading a full story and novellas don’t give me that satisfaction but there are some which fill the gap between the two novels, those the ones I like to read.

  10. I guess it depends, I’ve read novellas I’ve adored (Lucky by J.M. Darhower) and some I hated (unfortunately too many to mention), and some books that should have been labeled as novellas. If the story overall is good enough to support a novella – meaning, you don’t need any major plot building or character arc, then it’s great but I agree some are way too shallow to even satisfy the reader.

  11. I don’t mind them but I do check the number of pages listed on Amazon before I one click it. If I” paying $0.99 for 40 pages, I’m okay with that. Once or twice though (if the series is really popular) it can be as high as $2.99 for the same 40 pages.

    I read novellas because I really want to complete the series and don’t feel like I have if I skip them. Length doesn’t seem to bother me as long as I feel like the novella added to character development, enhanced a story arc, or was explaining an event in the character’s past that wouldn’t fit easily into a full length novel.

  12. Oddly enough I used to hate novellas, but I have this very specific series that I’m a mega fan of and those novellas I actually don’t mind and look forward to. I agree they are too small and are just a tease, but in this series for me they are a little taste of heaven until the next one comes. So I guess I’m sort of both a fan and not a fan. I guess it depends on the story/author.

  13. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Novella to be perfectly honest and it’s for the reasons above. I just think they are a bit unnecessary, short and not my style. Maybe i will try one, some day 😛

  14. I don’t mind novellas, but it definitely depends on the author/length. I can’t stand it when authors try to pass off something 10 pages long, for the price of 99p, or more. If I read a novella, I want it to have an impact, not just be there for the sake of more money.

    A good novella is definitely the four featured in The Assassin’s Blade, the prequel to Throne of Glass. All four added to the series, all four were nice and juicy, long enough to really sink your teeth into and get excited. Those four were utterly amazing (and apparently important to a future book, but I’ve only read TAB & TOG so far so I can’t say for sure).

    Otherwise, it kind of seems like a cheap ploy to me. Sometimes I’ll look up a series on GoodReads, and nearly die at how many novellas there are – one series (I don’t remember which it was) had like 6 novellas PRIOR to the first book and it’s just like, what? WHY? If you have that many stories to tell before your first book, maybe THOSE should have been the first book, ya know?

    Like I said, though, some work and some don’t. Depends what it adds to the overall story, imo.

  15. For me, novellas are hit and miss. I love the Throne of Glass novellas because they provide a lot of backstory for Celaena that you only get glimpses of in the main books, but I think a lot of times novellas come off as “fan service” and quick ways for pubs to make extra money off of readers. I’ll usually wait until bind-ups are released (like the Lunar Chronicles one) and just have them for series I really love.

  16. I agree! I very rarely read novellas for the same reasons that I feel like I’m only starting to get invested once the book is finishing. I feel like it’s a waste of my time. The only novella’s I’ve ever read are the Throne of Glass ones, and I’m glad I read those because some of the story in Throne of Glass makes a lot more sense knowing those character’s and how they met Aelin.

    I’ve never bothered to pick up any other novella. Well except Marissa Meyer’s Fairest. But that was nearly novel size and more of a full prequel so I wouldn’t think of it as a novella. And it was so interesting getting to read the Lunar Queen’s story and how she became to be the person she was.

  17. I also dislike them. For several reasons – many of which you outlined above – but also because they still want to charge like $4-$5 for them and I’m all “are you kidding me?!?!” No and no.

    Also, I read that book you went on about recently The Winter King. I definitely liked it so thank you for being so effusive about it. Have you read the Sarah J. Maas series that starts with A Court of Thorns & Roses? The second book, A Court of Mist and Shadows is one of my favorites and reminds me a little of The Winter King.

  18. There are very few novellas that I really love..because it is too little time to really become invested. Sometimes if they are supplements to a larger series though it can work.

  19. I’m not a huge fan of reading novellas either. I find they don’t generally have the depth I want of character or story – they kind of feel like filler. The one exception to this was This Night So Dark by Amie Kaufman and Meghan Spooner which is after These Broken Stars. Night used the characters from Stars so there was an expected familiarity there. But it had a solid plot and good pacing and an arc for one of the characters and felt like a good story on its own. I didn’t need it to be more than it was but it didn’t feel like a deleted scene or anything.

    Also, I’ve recently become a fan of writing novellas – or at least trying to write them – as a way to play around with my craft, try new things in quick, fail fast scenarios. We’ll see how it eventually impacts my novels…

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