There are many reasons to serialize a story. Some stories are best suited to being digested in small bites, such as very intense stories or deeply erotic ones. Serializing such stories gives the reader time to come up for air, so to speak.
Serializing also lets a reader truly savor the reading experience. Many readers “gorge” on great books, plowing through them all in one or two large sittings because they’re so deeply engaged. As with episodic TV, if you follow a serial as it’s released, you can satisfy your hunger one episode at a time, but won’t gorge. Even better, you know there’s another great episode waiting for you next week or next month—a delicious treat delivered to your inbox at regular intervals. Of course, if you’d prefer to read them all at once, you can always purchase the serial when it’s complete—sometimes there’s no greater pleasure in life than watching eight seasons of the X-Files in three weeks ;-)
Serializing also heightens anticipation. Having to wait to see what happens next—but not wait too long—is its own delicious torture, and a type of delight in which many readers revel. Anticipation can deeply heighten the reading experience when the new episode is finally released.
Lastly, serializing gives the reader time to reflect on what they’ve read before moving forward to the next piece. More time for contemplation results in a deeper, richer reading experience, and one the reader is much less likely to forget.