Fascinating question from the OP. I suppose we use a number of different ways depending on the author. Easily obtainable books, like the Hercule Poiret series by Agatha Christie, can probably be read in order. Ed McBain's 87th Street series cannot be read in order, unless one is fastidious in collecting the books, and waits until all novels are assembled together. There are around 54 novels in the series. Many are out of print. I read George Simenon's Inspector Maigret series out of order and at different times, due to poverty. As I got older, I could afford to purchase books and deliberately tried to read them in order. With Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series, the uninformed reader may discover a character has died in a later book, if the reader juggles the order. Do not hesitate to ask on this forum about any series that you are beginning.
Now, I have a question for the other members of this forum. What is the longest series you have ever read or attempted to read? Exclude graphic novels and comic books.