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Old 04-05-2019, 09:15 PM   #1
haertig
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Resources to determine if a book is standalone?

I don't mind novels in a series - where each book is mostly standalone with its own beginning and ending. Characters overlap with other books in the series, and occasional mentions of story lines from other books in the series.

But what I hate, are books in so-called "series" where one book just ends with a ton of unresolved stuff and then you are expected to buy the next book to find out what happens. The cliffhanger right at the end.

Are there any online resources that help identify such books? I'd like to avoid them. They seem much more prevalent on Amazon (Kindle Unlimited, KOLL, etc.), and from newer authors. And it is these Amazon newer authors that I am often reading now - both for exposure to new stuff, and cost savings over the high priced large publisher books. But some of these new authors have adopted a profit model that keeps dragging you along purchasing one book after another just to find out what happens and should have been resolved in the current book.

Last edited by haertig; 04-05-2019 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 04-05-2019, 09:19 PM   #2
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Goodreads, the author's own web site? The product page on Amazon shows all books in the series, and the title often mentions it.
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Old 04-05-2019, 09:47 PM   #3
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Fantasticfiction.com is very helpful in determining stand-alone vs. series. Not perfect, but they are right most of the time.
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Old 04-05-2019, 10:06 PM   #4
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I also like to avoid series books where the story continues to the next book. I haven't really found it hard to figure out when a book is part of that kind of series. A little reading of the description on Amazon and the reviews and I usually know. I haven't been fooled yet.

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Old 04-06-2019, 11:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarana View Post
Fantasticfiction.com is very helpful in determining stand-alone vs. series. Not perfect, but they are right most of the time.
Yes, that’s my “go to” site for series information, too.
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Old 04-06-2019, 11:51 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. I guess I will start being more aware. I think a lot of the ones I have run into were ones I purchased prior to knowing such junk existed. One I did know about before purchase, but only bought it as an omnibus (complete story) after it was completed, was "Wool". Actually, it had already been completed by the time I even heard of it. So I lucked out there when buying the omnibus, but I had already "purchased" the first mini-installment (I say "purchased", because it was a freebie bought for $0.00 from Amazon).

Guess I was late to the game in finding out about this stupid new trend. I only made the switch to eBooks a few years ago. I never had to worry about this installment plan for books when reading paper. I suppose they do indeed have paper books that work like this, but I don't shop in the pamphlet section of the bookstore, so I never ran into any of them.
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Old 04-06-2019, 11:55 AM   #7
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Books that have cliffhanger endings certainly aren’t a new phenomenon. They’ve probably existed as long as books themselves have.
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Old 04-06-2019, 12:19 PM   #8
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That's true. But the vast majority of what I've read do come to some kind of conclusion, a natural stopping place. The current adventure ends, and you known there will be a new adventure (for the same characters usually) in the next book.

But I have to admit that there can be problems with ending a book too. I've read a couple where the story is going great, the plot line pretty much finishes up, then there's the final chapter or two where the author seems terribly rushed to tie up all the loose ends (many that were so minor that they didn't need to be explained further - I had already forgotten about them). These endings feel rushed and sloppy and cheap. Maybe the "never ending book" installment plan is a response to that!
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Old 04-07-2019, 09:00 PM   #9
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Try doing a google of the name of the book followed by "series reading order" or "reading order". That's what I use when I know a book is part of a series but I can't tell where it is in the series.
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Old 04-08-2019, 03:55 PM   #10
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Books that do not standalone, were known as 'Serials'. I grew up reading these in the pages of Analog.
Some Series, stand better than others in that they do not require you know any of the back story (although, this may also provide Spoilers, if you plan to read older books later.)
I usually hop on over to Fantastic Fiction, when I spot a work that is not the first ( Although, some firsts, are spin-off's and may contain spoilers of the original series) . If you care! Research
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Old 04-08-2019, 05:11 PM   #11
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The way to find out is to ask. Ask here, ask on Goodreads, ask on Twitter, ask on the author's website/blog/Goodreads page. Ask. And don't be taken in by the "It can be read as a standalone" nonsense people will try to sell you. I've never quite been able to figure out why, but nothing brings people trying to convince you to start their favorite series (consisting entirely of non-standalone installments) out of the woodwork like asking for standalone recommendations. It's like they can't help themselves. "I know you said standalone, but ..."

Everybody's got their favorite rationales for why their clearly non-standalone suggestion should be considered standalone by those looking for stand-alone stuff. And they can't wait to try and trick you with it. I didn't ask for nearly standalone recommendations, thank you very much!

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Old 04-08-2019, 05:33 PM   #12
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Adding to what DiapDealer said, last week I finished a series that time-wise came after a previous series by the author. In the first book he said that the two series were standalone and that you didn't need to read the first series before this one. Wrong; the second series reveals a lot of stuff that happened in the first series.
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