Other authors were, like Dickens, serial writers too.
Both writers published their novels in serial format in a 19th news weekly called "Household Words." Back in the Victorian era, numerous writers published their fiction chapter by chapter!
Readers LOVED the stories.
Readers flocked to buy the weeklys.
Collins was so popular after he started writing "The Woman in White" that lines formed to buy the next installment.
Among the writers who published in serialized format in the 19th century: Mark Twain, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, George Meredith and Robert Louis Stevenson. Later, much of Joseph Conrad's fiction was first published in British and American periodicals (Both Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness was serialized in three parts in Blackwood's Magazine.)
And now, Sister Mysteries is resurrecting the idea of serial publication. (We are not alone. Mongoliad.com is a venture of two well-known science fiction writers.)