Star Wars Books In Publishing Order

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here are a number of Star Wars Book reading orders including chronological order and publishing order.

However, there are a number of issues with those reading styles which we completely break down in our articles The Best Star Wars Book Reading Order and Should You Read Star Wars Books in Chronological Order?

However, we realize that some folks are interested in checking out publishing order and that's what this page is for!

Note that this page only contains novels and young adult novels. To view every type of Star Wars literature, check out our interactive and gorgeous timeline pages.

Reading Star Wars Books In Publication Order

Publishing order simply means starting with the first book that was ever published - Splinter of the Mind’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster - and continuing on through the list with each book released after that.

Much like the chronological approach, this order makes a lot of sense at first glance. After all, it’s probably how your dad read all the books. It makes sense that you experience them in that same order right?

Here’s the thing:

Star Wars isn’t a singular experience.

Star Wars is a multi-generational and culturally important experience that no two people share in exactly the same way. Just because dad read them in that order, doesn’t mean you also have to.

And what about when a new book comes out?

The entire community is super hyped about it, they’re talking about it on our Discord, they’re counting the days until The Living Force Podcast does a roundtable on it, they’re rolling their eyes at shameless plugs on websites. Yet, here you are, over in a corner reading a book that’s 25 years old just because you think you have to.

Three upcoming Star Wars novels against the backdrop of space
We list all new Star Wars books on our site!

Don’t get me wrong. Some of that 25-year old content is hella good. But don’t sacrifice the joy of diving in with a huge community just because you are set on some arbitrary order.

But while we are talking about books that are 25 years old, it goes without saying that some of those books are… well… rough. I mean how could they not be? The universe was tiny back then and Star Wars books were barely even a concept yet.

Heck, even sci-fi itself was barely even a developed genre. If there were three Star Wars books out, of course you were gonna read them. After all, we are talking about a film that’s almost 50 years old!

The reasons we dislike publishing order are shared with chronological order: you will get burned out, you are tied to an arbitrary order without room for flexibility, and you will have to slug through a lot of content that just hasn’t aged well in order to get to the good stuff.

The Best Star Wars Book Reading Order

We have a full breakdown of our recommended reading order and why we so frequently recommend it on our post The Best Star Wars Book Reading Order. But here is the short version:

  1. Start with the Youtini Foundational Five
  2. Read all the newest novels within 30 days of their release (use our release schedule)
  3. Use the Youtini Reading Order
  4. Pick books based on what you like (use our reading collections)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why shouldn't I read Star Wars books in publishing or chronological order?
Should I start with the first book on the timeline?
Should I read Star Wars books in publishing order?

The Early Days (1976 - 1984)

The early days of Star Wars publishing were a time of vast uncertainty. The idea of books expanding on the films was a new idea and George Lucas hadn't yet made the rules clear...or really any rules for that matter. As such, a lot of early materials are not congruent with the films and subsequent works are certainly entertaining reads.


Released
Nov 12, 1976
Adult Novel
Takes place in
0 BBY
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
By
Alan Dean Foster (Credited as George Lucas)
7.8
Good
7.8
7.8
#
142
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Feb 12, 1978
Adult Novel
Takes place in
2 ABY
Splinter of the Mind's Eye
By
Alan Dean Foster
6.3
Okay
6.3
6.3
#
208
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Apr 1, 1979
Adult Novel
Takes place in
2 BBY
Han Solo At Stars' End
By
Brian Daley
7.1
Good
7.1
7.1
#
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Oct 12, 1979
Adult Novel
Takes place in
2 BBY
Han Solo's Revenge
By
Brian Daley
7.9
Good
7.9
7.9
#
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Apr 12, 1980
Adult Novel
Takes place in
3 ABY
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
By
Donald F. Glut
8.2
Very Good
8.2
8.2
#
143
in the
Youtini Reading Order

The Legends Golden Age (1991 - 1999)

Timothy Zahn changed the landscape of Star Wars publishing with the release of Heir to the Empire in 1991, and the Expanded Universe was truly born. For almost a decade, fans enjoyed rich storytelling that was mostly in line with the Original Trilogy of films. 


Released
Feb 1, 1994
Adult Novel
Takes place in
11 ABY
Jedi Search
By
Kevin J. Anderson
7.4
Good
7.4
7.4
#
96
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Apr 1, 1994
Adult Novel
Takes place in
8 ABY
The Courtship of Princess Leia
By
Dave Wolverton
7.5
Good
7.5
7.5
#
99
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Jun 1, 1994
Adult Novel
Takes place in
4 BBY - 3 BBY
The Lando Calrissian Adventures
By
L. Neil Smith
6.8
Okay
6.8
6.8
#
162
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Jun 1, 1994
Adult Novel
Takes place in
11 ABY
Dark Apprentice
By
Kevin J. Anderson
7.2
Good
7.2
7.2
#
97
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Sep 1, 1994
Adult Novel
Takes place in
11 ABY
Champions of the Force
By
Kevin J. Anderson
7.0
Good
7.0
7.0
#
98
in the
Youtini Reading Order

Modern Legends (2000 - 2014)

The arrival of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace brought a new age of storytelling. When George Lucas announced the discontinuation of Star Wars films after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, authors were essentially given a free pass to continue the Skywalker Saga beyond the films. In this modern age of the Star Wars EU, readers consumed a wide range of stories of their favorite heroes beyond the first six films.


Released
Apr 21, 1999
Adult Novel
Takes place in
32 BBY
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
By
Terry Brooks
7.7
Good
7.7
7.7
#
140
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Jul 6, 1999
Adult Novel
Takes place in
0 ABY / 4 ABY
Hard Merchandise
By
K.W. Jeter
7.8
Good
7.8
7.8
#
95
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Aug 3, 1999
Adult Novel
Takes place in
12 ABY
X-Wing: Starfighters of Adumar
By
Aaron Allston
8.2
Very Good
8.2
8.2
#
65
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Oct 5, 1999
Adult Novel
Takes place in
25 ABY
Vector Prime
By
R.A. Salvatore
8.1
Very Good
8.1
8.1
#
181
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Dec 1, 1999
Adult Novel
Takes place in
0 BBY - 18 ABY
Tales from the New Republic
By
Various Authors
7.0
Good
7.0
7.0
#
133
in the
Youtini Reading Order

Early Canon (2014 - 2018)

George Lucas shocked the world in 2012 with the announcement that he was selling the Star Wars franchise to Disney. In 2014, Disney again sent shockwaves through the fandom with the announcement that all previously written Star Wars literature would be deemed Legends and that all future material would be a continuous Canon integrated with all the films and TV shows. These early days of publishing Star Wars Canon were less structured and experimental, yet, some of the best Canon material resulted from this period.


Released
Sep 2, 2014
Adult Novel
Takes place in
11 BBY
A New Dawn
By
John Jackson Miller
6.4
Okay
6.4
6.4
#
69
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Nov 4, 2014
Adult Novel
Takes place in
14 BBY
Tarkin
By
James Luceno
8.1
Very Good
8.1
8.1
#
50
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Mar 3, 2015
Adult Novel
Takes place in
0 ABY
Heir to the Jedi
By
Kevin Hearne
5.8
Mediocre
5.8
5.8
#
209
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Apr 28, 2015
Adult Novel
Takes place in
14 BBY
Lords of the Sith
By
Paul S. Kemp
6.7
Okay
6.7
6.7
#
47
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Jul 7, 2015
Adult Novel
Takes place in
19 BBY
Dark Disciple
By
Christie Golden
8.7
Very Good
8.7
8.7
#
14
in the
Youtini Reading Order

Modern Canon (2019 - Present)

Star Wars publishing really found its stride around 2019 with new organized projects and successful format experiments such as audio drama productions and additional longform trilogies. We continue to enjoy an orchestrated and carefully planned release schedule today with some of the best Star Wars books and comics the franchise has ever seen.


Released
Mar 5, 2019
YA Novel
Takes place in
28 BBY
Queen's Shadow
By
E. K. Johnston
7.5
Good
7.5
7.5
#
37
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Apr 16, 2019
Adult Novel
Takes place in
39 BBY
Master & Apprentice
By
Claudia Gray
9.5
Masterpiece
9.5
9.5
#
4
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Apr 30, 2019
Audio Drama
Takes place in
92 BBY - 24 BBY
Dooku: Jedi Lost
By
Cavan Scott
8.4
Very Good
8.4
8.4
#
11
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Jun 11, 2019
Adult Novel
Takes place in
4 ABY
Alphabet Squadron
By
Alexander Freed
8.1
Very Good
8.1
8.1
#
21
in the
Youtini Reading Order
Released
Jul 23, 2019
Adult Novel
Takes place in
1 BBY
Thrawn: Treason
By
Timothy Zahn
6.7
Okay
6.7
6.7
#
36
in the
Youtini Reading Order