Length of a Book Series

Let’s talk about the book series for a moment and how long is too long for a series?

We all pretty much know and love the Harry Potter series, which consists of seven books (we do not count The Cursed Child, ever). Given the length of the later novels, it seems like a pretty large series, at least for kids/teens. It kind of feels like the books will never end… and then they do and your a mess crying for hours after, even after the 110th reread. But when it comes down to it, seven books isn’t that bad at all.

A lot of YA books lately, especially fantasy, have a knack for trilogies. Three books and you’re done. Easy-peasy.

Then there are other authors who just keep writing with some same characters. James Patterson, Stuart Woods, Joanne Fluke, and Karen Kingsbury are just a few authors that have series that are still going on. I get people in at work who maybe have just started to get back into reading and they come across these authors, then realize the book they picked up is number twenty in a series! So then they need to hunt for the rest (because over the years, our books like to walk out the door). It can be kind of frustrating to go back twenty books to get the start of a series.

Lastly, there’s manga. Which is a book format I’m still getting into thanks to one of my best friends, but part of the turn-off for me is that some of these series are just never ending! I started reading Black Butler back in January, but stopped at number five for the time being because I’m still not sure if I care enough to finish it. Whereas Sailor Moon thankfully only has twelve in the series (and I still have yet to finish it).

On one hand, I think it’s great that authors have come up with characters that they don’t want to let go of, and that their readers are still reading these characters after all this time. But still, when does the series become too long?

My answer to that is that it depends. I mean, if I really love the characters and want to continue reading their story, then I probably won’t care how long the series is. Of course, when it’s an older series that has quite a sum of books, it can be intimidating to start because then I begin to think of all the time I’ll have to put into the series (if I like it).

Honestly, I think seven is a good number for a series (yes, because of Harry Potter). However, so far the longest series I’ve read is the Private series by Kate Brian – 14 novels and 2 prequel novels. However, those books average about 220 pages, so each book is an easy read. Pretty sure I read at least three in one day last year when I reread the series. The second longest series is Left Behind, and those books are so gripping you don’t even care that it’s twelve books.

So let’s discuss in the comments… how long do you think is too long for a series? What are some exceptions? And what is the longest series you’ve read?

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One thought on “Length of a Book Series

  1. samhissingpotatoes says:

    The longest series I’ve ever read is Animorphs with over 60 books total. Yes, some of the books are obviously filler, but overall they were awesome. I think the strength lay in the author/ghost writers knowing the characters and main conflict themes really well; each book, even filler, pivoted around the same axis. (We won’t talk about the very end of the last book.)

    So for me, it’s less the length of the series and more the focus. Long series that were mapped out from the beginning seem to maintain their focus and therefore my interest. Series that continue just because they were popular and not necessarily because the author intended to write more tend to be obviously forced.


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