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The mushrooming public interest in ebooks and their corresponding technology is heralding the dramatic return of the serial novel, or so I’ve heard. There’s been talk of a literary throwback with a modern kick. In proper steampunk fashion, the buzz surrounding this revival has been awash with a bizarre mixture of techy excitement and Old World nostalgia.

It should not be surprising that Charles Dickens, whose works helped to popularize the genre during the Victorian period, was resurrected as the poster child for the neo-serial novel.

In a December 2011 Forbes article, “From Dickens To iPads To Harry Potter: Why Backlit Is Bullish On Teen Reading” Michael Humphrey explores new publishing developments geared toward the YA market. He introduces Backlit Fiction, a California-based digital media publishing company that publishes digital novels in serial installments designated as “episodes.”

“Episodes!” I thought, cringing. “Isn’t that for…you know…television?”

As…

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