Also, let's be honest, while there are indeed some gems in there, 90% of the Star Wars EU is disposable rubbish *at best*. Likewise, I don't think there are very many *good* licensed Star Trek novels, comics, games etc. Most are just OK and very few do anything really different with the IP.
I jad to comment on this. I LOVE the Star Wars EU. Without it, Star Wars goes from my #2 Sci Fi Franchise to a far away #5. I've read a LOT of the EU, and 90% is awesome. It also has my favorite characters (Mara Jade, the Republic Commando characters, Jaina Solo, etc). I like Han, Luke, Leia, Lando etc., but mostly from their EU adventures. Heck, it even has the best villains, like Thrawn (who beats even vader if you include the whiny Anakin from EP 1-3 as part of the character, although his depiction in 4-6 is still awesome). Without that, its just a franchise with 3 good movies, three bad ones, and a horrible CGI TV show. I just figured I'd post my thoughts, since I'm a huge EU fan. Its fine if you don't like it, but there are enough fans to keep it profitable for over 20 years, and there is definately a reason why. Its much better than anything Lucas ever did, including the three good movies.