Sunday, March 3, 2013

How long is a book?

That might seem like a strange question, but it is sort of relevant, and it is an interesting discussion point as the world around us changes. I've heard many readers and writers categorize a novel as something with at least 100,000 words. That's quite a big book, and would have to be darned interesting to keep readers going to the last page.

Through Wikipedia (of course, LOL) I found the following definition by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America:

Category Word count
Novel Over 40,000
Novella 17,500 to 40,000
Novelette 7,500 to 17,500
Short Story Under 7,500

Certain kinds of books - thrillers, for instance - tend to be longer, and romance on the shorter side.

I mentioned that the world is changing. I myself used to love thick books, because they would last for a while, and I could stay in the characters' world longer. Nowadays I have so much to do and am so tired I appreciate shorter books; I can read and finish something, and feel accomplished.

I read a study, can't remember where, that said more and more people are drawn to shorter books because our reading habits are changing. Readers no longer curl up in the sofa with a book; we read on our cell phones, iPads, Kindles, and portable computers, and we read on buses, while waiting in grocery stores, and even at red lights.

What do you think? Do you like your books thick or thin? Have your reading habits changed during the last couple of years, and if so, how?


  1. I love the long novels and series, but I also enjoy the shorter novellas and short stories. I guess I just love to read. Period. I don't think reader's tastes have changed, it's just that there is so much more to choose from that we tend to go in trends. At times we read many shorter books and then there are those other times where we are buried deep into an epic story. My first erotic romance novel was HUMONGOUS at over 219,000 words. Readers have both loved and disliked the length. You can't please everyone so you might as well please your characters and let them tell their story no matter how many words it ends up being in the final draft.

  2. Excellent points! Thank you for stopping by and sharing! =D


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