Don't worry, this is not a 'The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few' post! *grin* But, writing A Piece of String earlier this week got me to thinking about the standalone novel versus the series. Which do you prefer?
I'm actually on the fence with this one... If you read a standalone and love the world-building and the characters and...well, everything, then you automatically want more and end up trolling the Internet for any information on a potential sequel (with the subsequent despondency when you realize that there is no sequel). I did this earlier this year when I read Tigers & Devils (Sean Kennedy) [expounded in Rainy Days and Mondays] and I do it every time I re-read To Ride Hell's Chasm (Janny Wurts). In the former novel I want a sequel (desperately!) so that I can spend more time with the characters (whom I love); in the latter I want to explore more of the world-building, which is fascinating!
With a series, I get to go back again, and again...and again. And that's a good thing (see above), right? Mostly... There are definitely some series I think should have stopped a looong time ago. Series that are going...nowhere. I think with for a series to work you need something new served up with the familiar...you need the connection (for example, characters and/or an overall plot arc) across the series but you also need to be hooked and engaged anew with each novel, whether it is with new characters or with the development of old characters. I think Nalini Singh does this very well with her Psy-Changeling series.
So, standalone or series...or does it depend? And is there a standalone novel that you think should have a sequel...or two?