By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Read chapters of Brandon Sanderson's latest novel online for free
Utah resident and best-selling fantasy author Brandon Sanderson's latest novel "Oathbringer" will be published Nov. 14. Fans can read chapters of the book on his publisher's website, - photo by Kurt Manwaring
In the age of Netflix, binge-watching is replacing serialized television shows at an astonishing rate. As it relates to literature, serialization is more a term associated with the writings of Charles Dickens in the 1800s than a real possibility today.

However, one publisher is simultaneously thrilling fans and lining pocketbooks by experimenting with no-cost serialization.

Tor Books was founded in 1980 and is the global leader in science fiction and fantasy publications.

One of Tors most prominent writers today is Brandon Sanderson one of the rising stars in fantasy and science fiction literature. Fans of his Stormlight Archive series have been waiting more than three years for the third book titled Oathbringer.

Tor recognizes the challenge of requiring readers to wait for long periods of time in between books and has taken active measures to keep Sandersons fan base involved and satisfied.

Every Tuesday, Tor publishes three chapters from "Oathbringer" online at no cost at It has provided these chapters for the last two months and will continue to do so until the book is published on Nov. 14.

Despite the apparent novelty, this is far from Tors first venture in giving away free books.

Weve been doing similar things since we started, wrote Irene Gallo, associate publisher of Tor Books, in an email interview for this article. Before we launched, in 2008, we spent a lot of time giving away eBooks Sanderson was included in that run-up.

Gallo continued, Sandersons considerable fan base means that people are willing in fact, hungry to get as much information as early as possible.

In a very real sense, providing free serialized chapters is a gift from Tor to its readers. Gallo refered to it as a big block party for the book, in which readers are able to debate what has happened and theorize what it means and what might happen next.

For example, the official Brandon Sanderson fan site, 17th Shard, has more than 250 active discussions about the serialized chapters of "Oathbringer." The comments section also includes hundreds of comments for each segment of serialized content. In many ways, these venues serve as virtual water coolers around which fans from all over the world can gather and discuss Sandersons latest chapters.

While Tor provides these free gifts to its readers, it does not set aside the necessity to make money. Rather, the publishing house looks at serialization including free serialization as an important tool in remaining financially viable.

Obviously, wrote Gallo, these excerpts get people excited and invested in the book. The serialization reignites the energy and momentum surrounding The Stormlight Archive between volumes.

In addition to retaining readers already familiar with Sandersons work, Tors approach is also designed to secure new readers for books published long ago.

Theres also enough time that readers who are new to the series can get wind of the excitement around the books and decide to start from the beginning, Gallo explained.

Tor certainly has the option of requiring readers to pay for this serialized content, but purposefully elects to provide the content at no cost.

People arent unwilling to pay for content, Gallo said, but there is so much available for free that its not unreasonable for them to ask to sample the product.

Tors decision to serialize significant amounts of material at no cost makes readers happy and financially benefits the publisher. By providing free discussion forums online, Tor also strengthens its bottom line while giving readers more enriching experiences both in terms of quantity and quality.

Ultimately, no amount of marketing innovation can compensate for shoddy content, and Tor is not afraid to place large bets on its authors.

We believe in letting the book sell itself, Gallo said.

Chapters of Sandersons "Oathbringer" are published online every Tuesday on "Oathbringer" will be available in full for purchase Nov. 14.
Sign up for our E-Newsletters