Star Wars Books In Publishing Order
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.
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:
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.