Monday 19 April 2010

E-Book Prequels - Yay or Nay?

So at the moment I'm reading Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh. This is book 1 in the Guild Hunter series. Before this book was released an e-book prequel Angel's Pawn was (and still is) available to buy. The e-book is a standalone set in the same universe as the main book.

This isn't the first series where this has happened. Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series also had a standalone e-book prequel - The Darkest Fire. This book will soon be available in the print anthology Into the Dark.

I wondered what everyone thought about this kind of thing. I admit I'm not keen. If I'm following a series in e-book I'd rather stick to e-book, if I'm following it in print I like to have the whole thing in print. I don't like to mix and match.

I'm pleased that the prequels aren't required reading for the rest of the series. But I still can't help feeling that I'm missing something. But if at some point in the future the stories are going to be available in print anthologies I'd rather wait and get the story in print.

So am I just being a stick in the mud? Am I missing out? Or do you prefer to kepp e-book series and print series separate as well?

I have a copy of Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp to give away to one poster to this thread. Winner to be chosen at random by on Friday.


Chris said...

Not entering the contest - I already have that book!

Nope, not found of those prequels. In fact, here's my reviewette after reading Angel's Pawn: "A decent read, but without the punch of Angel’s Blood. I’d recommend reading Angel’s Blood first to get familiar with the world."

So... it hardly seemed like a prequel to me.

Sullivan McPig said...

I must confess I hate e-books! I want my books on paper, nothing beats the feel and look and smell of a real book!
So a big Nay on e-books, be it prequels, sequels or whatever!

Christine said...

I have nothing against prequels if I know about them ahead of time. If I found out I missed a prequel to a book I read that *should* have been read first to understand the world / characters / conflict better... THAT would drive me insane because I tend to be anal about reading a series in order, even if they're loosely related.

But ... there are so many prequels out there that are not completely relevant to the series, like the way Chris is suggesting about Angel's Pawn. Then I guess it doesn't bother me. I guess.

Renee said...

I don't mind them, as long as they aren't necessary to "get" book 1 of a series.

I really enjoyed Angels' Pawn--especially, Janvier! Hoping to get more of him and Ashwini sometime in the future. It was a nice addition to the world, but not necessary.

I know that P Briggs did that with the Alpha and Omega prequel. Her short story was in Prowl, which by dumb luck I had already read. From what I recall, she actually didn't know that the short was going to later be developed into a series, and it caused her no end of trouble in trying to write book 1--and readers a big hassle because those who hadn't read it who had a hard time knowing what was going on.

I had that problem with Marjorie Liu's Iron Hunt, which I found really confusing and put down until I could get to the prequel (and more than a year later, still haven't picked either the prequel or book 1 up again).

No need to enter me, thank you, as I have already read this one! :-)

Hilcia said...

I remember enjoying Angel's Pawn more as a side story than as a prequel, and not a necessary one to the series.

As far as releasing it in e-book format only... well, that was a bit of a pain. I got it for my reader, but there were lots of friends who are fans and don't read e-books, or don't have readers and couldn't get it in .pdf format or other formats or didn't have access to it at the time. THEY were put out.

I'm not necessarily a fan of prequels.

Tracy said...

As long as the prequel doesn't have uber important info I think I'm ok with it. I switch from ereader to print many times each week so doing so for a prequel wouldn't be too bad for me at all. :) I'd say yay.

Sarai said...

I am not enterering the contest!

I actually like ebooks when I have my ereader however, as a rule if I like the author I prefer the paper so that I can take it with me and not worry about charging it or not being able to download the ebook.

I actually am not a fan of prequels never have liked them

LesleyW said...

Chris - you've made me feel a little better about not reading Angel's Pawn.

Sullivan - I admit if I have a choice of a book in e-book or paperback I will choose paperback. But there are some great stories out there in e-book.

Christine - I think I may have to do another post on prequels as they don't seem to be that popular.

LesleyW said...

Renee - I loved Alpha and Omega but the beginning of Cry Wolf was a little here and there as she had to get everyone up to speed. But I'm glad that the story was good enough that Anna and Charles got a series of their own.

Hilcia - Maybe I'm a little more biased because I don't have an e-reader so I have to read on my PC, which I can only do for a short amount of time.

Tracy - Glad there was a yay vote in there. If I ever get an e-reader I'll probably be loading up on these prequels. But until then I'm a paperback gal. :)

LesleyW said...

Sarai - A future post is definitely going to be about prequels. I agree that if I really like an author I want to be able to have their books in paperback on my bookshelf.

Sweet Vernal Zephyr said...

I agree with your preference to have a series complete either electronically OR in print! But I do admit, that if I like an ebook series I will buy them in print when they come out.

sheep#100 said...

I'd prefer to have a prequel in the same medium as the actual series but if the prequel can truly act as a standalone, I guess I'm okay with that, too, especially if the prequel was being offered as a free download (sort of like a "thank you" to the devoted readers).

Long-winded way of saying, the publishers so often do what their marketing people say will work and the rest of us don't really get much of a say.

~Jody said...

The only thing I really dislike about the e-version pre-quels is that you don't really know they exist unless you go to looking for them.

I do prefer to have all the books in one media or the other, though I'm trying to get over that cuz my bookshelves are stuffed. I just bought my first e-book version of a series that I have in print. Its trying to work my nerves ... but only a little bit. ;)