It was only last year that I noticed how novellas were rising to the fore-front of bookshops and media platforms. Last Year Penguin Random House released 80 Black Penguin Classics; poetry, novellas and short non-fiction from world class authors such as Jane Austen, Edgar Allen Poe and Charlotte Perkins-Gilman to name a few. If you searched for these small pieces on Instagram, you would find them left, right and centre. Book bloggers cannot help but share their love of these Penguin Classics; you would be surprised at how many already have the full collection. Not only on Instagram either, these novellas are also popping up on Pinterest too. After such success, Penguin Random House recently released a further 80 titles to sit next to their original collection. Although Penguin Random House seem to have started the rise of novellas in bookshops, there seems to be a lot more digital content regarding the subject than ever before. Goodreads has a book club called ‘The Novella Club,’ which has over 650 members. Although Wattpad supplies its audience with over 4,000 novellas, Wattpad also supplies novelettes too.
But why is it, that we have fallen in love with this art form? Well, straight away I can think of three reasons.
They are short – Obviously this comes with the term novella but think about what that opens up to you. Since they are short, they give you great satisfaction in a short space of time.If you want a good read that is deeper than a magazine but not as time consuming as a novel, then this type of prose is ideal for you. A novella can give you high quality literature, as a novel would do, however because it is shorter it can sometimes be more intense.
Great for commuters – Again because a novella is short it can be read on your commute to work or during your lunch break. This makes it ideal if you wish to read something gripping but only have an hour spare.
Product Values – One of the best advantages I feel, is the actual size and weight of a novella. It could be digital, so it takes up no space at all, or it could be a small A5 paperback, that fits neatly into your bag. When you think about people you see reading in public spaces, how big are their books? A lot of the time, I wonder where on earth do they store it. With the novella however, it is roughly half the size and even sometimes feels less bulky than your purse.
With so many advantages that the novella holds, it is surprising how underrated they used to be. Like I said, used to. With this form of prose cropping up more and more, now really is the best time to write a novella.
This post was originally published on Medium. Feel free to see what else I’ve been writing on Medium by clicking here.
3 thoughts on “Are Novellas on the rise?”
The release of 80 indiscriminate titles perhaps lends more credence to the idea of the Little Black Book effort as one of status or identity–“I am a reader, and if you do not believe me here is a cup of tea on a neutral background with a little stack of NOVELLAS,” no matter if, or perhaps *especially* if, the viewer also sees a one Communist Manifesto or authored by Friedrich Nietzsche.
I am pleased that you have acknowledged some of the titles in the image provided. These books are of titles I personally enjoyed in the collection and like I stated in the article, not all of the collection is made up of novellas. I provided this example of my collection to show the variety the little black books offer such as poetry and as you have noticed, non-fiction. The main reason for posting the image was to show how these pieces of fiction and non-fiction have became a standalone piece in bookstores. Furthermore I have also seen novellas published with Orion in stores that are not attached to any status symbol. I am glad that you have taken the time to read my article and have provided your input.
Another benefit is also that non readers can get into reading too, not being have to be afraid of getting intimidated by thick heavy books. Definitely will help them get into books