Originally Posted by plumboz
The subject of serials is, as you know, currently occupying the thoughts of Smashwords founder Mark Coker. So far it looks like the reader response he is getting to his survey on another board here is that they are not all that popular. ...
I would have predicted that for purchase. Even if they were offering something like that at Smashwords, I wouldn't take advantage of it. I would only offer whole stories for sale. (Although they might be linked to other stories as a series.)
Serials have always been more popular as a promotional item - in a magazine, newspaper, or now on a blog. It's a way to get people interested in buying a book.
There are plenty of well known authors, of course, who have successfully used the serial concept, even in pay as you go. A number of sf writers have used a variation of the tip jar to fund the writing of books when a publisher has either gone under, or has refused to publish something that didn't quite fit in their regular line. Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, I believe, used it to support a off-shoot novel from their Liaden universe, and a bunch of their fans paid in advance to watch the rough draft in production (including a good friend of mine - who then turned me on to the series).
Of course, you have to have a very serious fan base to pull off something like that, but part of building a fanbase is getting your work out there.