gray-blue mesa under blue sky, Petrified Forest National Park

What is a book series?

A book series publishes stand-alone books that, taken together, contribute to a shared, defined conversation. This conversation might be disciplinary, geographic, formal, thematic, and/or methodological, e.g. our Sun Tracks series which publishes Indigenous literary works or our Latinx Pop Culture series. By creating a dedicated space for books that share a common concern or approach, a book series can make an impact at a different scale than a single book. It can help elevate a neglected topic or approach, establish a burgeoning field of inquiry, reenergize a subject of study, or make space for underrepresented voices.   

A book series generally has one or more series editors—scholars or experts in the field—who work with an acquiring editor at a press to commission and cultivate new proposals and manuscripts, provide feedback during the development of projects, and work alongside the publisher to promote books once they are published. Many series also have a series design to reinforce the cohesiveness of the collection; the design may cover specific elements of the books such as their title, size, or cover design. Book series vary greatly in their longevity and in their annual publication numbers. Some run for many years or publish multiple books a year, while other series are time bounded or publish a small number of books. Some presses refer to series on their websites that are no longer active as “completed series” or “legacy series.”

—University of Arizona Press, November 2022    

See also “How do book series get started?”