Apr 192013

Today I’d like to talk about a huge book pet peeve that I have: hidden series books. By this I mean the book you pick up, look at, decide sounds interesting, take home and go to add to Goodreads and then discover that is part of a series, and it’s not the first book. But nowhere on the exterior of the book is this mentioned.

This immediately makes me upset. Now I have a book that I can’t start because I believe that series books need to be read in sequence. Most of the time you can’t pick up a series book in the middle of the series without missing large important pieces of information conveyed in previous books. Even when it’s a long series, you don’t have the same feel of the characters and overall connections if you missed the first few books.

Several times in the last few months I have accidentally acquired middle of the series books, and I’m not sure what to do with them. Am I interested enough in the series that I will go out and acquire the missing books prior to the one I got? Should I just read the book I got and hope I can figure things out? Or do I turn around and get rid of the book and consider it a sad mistake?

Regardless of what I do, I am still upset that the book does not tell me that it is part of a series. I think that if a book is not the first book, then either the front or back cover should clearly state that it is part of a series, and what book number it is. Or it should be on the first page or two, because I have two books right now that I cannot find mention of the series anywhere. That is very frustrating and misleading. What do you think? Should series information be on all covers (front or back)?

  5 Responses to “Discussion: Hidden Series Books”

  1. I agree that books should state if they are part of a series. It is frustrating to me too, to acquire a book and find out it is in the middle of a series. I personally would try to get the first ones in the series, because obviously something caught my interest in the middle book.

  2. I hate that, too. It’s happened at least twice with books I’ve reviewed, one being most recently. Fortunately, the latest is a “standalone” story with some characters appearing the previous book in the series so it was fine to read on its own.

  3. I get so angry when this happens! I really do! My grandmother has this gynormous bookshelf full of books with lots and lots of volumes (most of them are at least 20 years old) and each of them has stars drawn on the spine (by the publisher) to help you figure out the book’s place inside a series (so let’s say it’s volume 5, it has 5 stars). I think books in series need to have something like “part of…. series” on the cover. Or at least on the first page. Also, because I sometimes miss that, I think there should be an extra page with “Also in this series: ” and the titles of each book, in order. I hate reading out of order. Did that when I first discovered reading and I didn’t know there where stand-alones and series and I was confused. Hated when I figured out there were others before.

    Also, this might sound weird, but when publishers don’t include this type of information, I feel sort of cheated, like I have to buy the other books in order to get to the one I already got. 🙁

  4. I hate this too! Another thing that annoys me greatly is when a series (particularly a long series) doesn’t have the order listed on the spines. Or maybe I love it when they do, since it hardly happens anymore. But it’s so frustrating not to be able to easily figure out that a book is in a series, or what place it holds in that series.

  5. i remember taking an Adolescent Lit class in college 30+ years ago. The professor assigned “Anne of Avonlea” by L.M. Montgomery (#2 in the Anne of Green Gables series for those that don’t know). A friend and I questioned the choice (after class) because you really do have to read the first one to know who’s who. He stated that we were reading this one because Anne is truly an adolescent in the book. He then proceeded at the next class to state that a student had raised this concern and she had volunteered to give a synopsis of “Green Gables”, and handed me the mike. Thankfully, /i knew the book/series very well. I had several students in the class thank me later because the book hadn’t made much sense as a standalone.

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