I noticed on Facebook a couple of days ago that the HarperTeen page was asking readers which they preferred: series or standalone novels. I don't necessarily like how this question is broken down into an either/or statement because it's a lot more complicated than picking one or the other.
I think that the first thing to be considered is the story. Some stories need to be told in multiple books. It allows you to get into the details and really go in-depth into the story, the characters, the conflict. Some conflicts are so huge and the solutions so extensive, they can't be contained in one book. And when you have a story, or characters, or a setting that readers love and just can't get enough of, then having a series is so awesome and fun. I love the excitement and the community that reading a long series builds.
I wish that there were more books like The Scorpio Races, and I'll admit that part of this isn't because of the masterful storytelling, but because my attention span is short and my time limited. Most books in a series have a year between them (though I have noticed that some publishers, like Random House, have started spacing series out in nine-month spans, which I really like). Unfortunately because of school, work, life I can't re-read every book I loved before the sequel comes out, and if I feel like I don't remember a book well enough, I'll put off the sequel.
Another interesting fact to note: Why is it that a paranormal/fantasy/dystopia story tends to be told in multiple books, but you have to look harder to find a YA contemporary series?
What are your reading habits? Do you follow a lot of series, start and not finish them, or tend to read more standalone books? Or do you avoid series until all of the books are out and you can read them all at once?