e-Novellas – An Argument For
I’m not a huge eBook fan. I have an older Sony Reader, which I do use occasionally (my family travels by motorcycle more than a few times a year – space is a commodity hardcovers eat up rather quickly). I love our library’s eBook service, and as my iPad and iPhone are never far from my reach, I love being able to quickly pull up something to read while I’m in a waiting room or grabbing a bite to eat on the fly. But the bulk of my reading is still in good old “dead tree” books.
However, eBooks have brought forward something I never read before. In fact, something that was seldom published; and if published, very few made it to the general public. They were put in literary magazines, buried on author and publisher websites, or sometimes added as a special feature in the trade paperback edition (which then confused everyone, as you thought it was an excerpt from an upcoming full book. Don’t lie – I know it happened to you).
I’m talking about novellas.
Novellas, short stories, novelettes – whatever you call them – I’m hooked. (FYI – there are specifications as to what makes a short story versus a novella and so on and so forth...but who cares?). I adore getting snippets of story that didn’t make it into the final edit of a book, or were part of an author’s foundation or back story, but made no sense to publish, or flesh out into a full book. “e” format has made it profitable for authors and publishers to put these in the hands of their readers; and readers can snatch them up for a couple of bucks (usually).
I was astounded by “Foundation” – technically a prequel to Ann Aguirre’s “Enclave”. I had never pictured the society that had come before Deuce’s life in the abandoned subway tunnels – but it made the story more real to read about it. “Glitches” is a prequel to Marissa Meyer’s “Cinder”, and “The Queen’s Army” has me so excited to read “Scarlet” I almost dropped all my other reading to get to it (I didn’t...I have so many books, order must reign).
What about those characters that you lose along the progression of a series? Lauren Oliver’s “Hana”, Ann Aguirre’s “Endurance”, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s “Dream Dark” – they all give us a little more of those secondary characters we love – they don’t just fade into nothing, and they have lives away from our main characters – it’s like they’re real! Their lives carry on outside the story!
Most eBook stores now carry popular author’s novellas – library eBooks services often get some as well. And they usually cost under $5 – I shamelessly buy them for my iPad now; I especially love them when I’m continuing a series I haven’t read for a while – I’ll almost always check to see if there’s a “half” story I can get my hands in to give me a quick refresher.
If you haven’t ventured into the eNovella foray, I highly recommend it. Don’t have a mobile device you can load it to? You can read them right on your computer – and they’re often short enough you don’t feel silly doing so. Or, you can go ahead and print them to make your own “dead tree” copy. But give one from your favourite series a try – little bites of literary awesomeness.