I’ll be writing about my adventures, from my point of view, while offering my opinion on whatever the current matter happens to be. I hope you will enjoy it, if for no other reason, because you’ll get to see just how crazy my mind and reactions can be sometimes.
Word Count vs. Page Numbers
Aside from the fact that books have gone digital, I wonder whether there is any reason to have page numbers other than to distinguish one page from another in a print copy. It has become quite clear to me that page numbers are utterly insignificant to the actual length of the story. In this advanced age, what is the proper way to measure the length of a book?
Average reading time: Based on what as an average would this be viable? This concept actually works in terms of audio books because you know exactly how long the recording is (the listen time is given). That’s not to say that when you’re reading you read at the same pace as professional narrator, whether that be slower or faster.
Page Numbers: I’ve already stated that this doesn’t work, but here’s why. Not all books are formatted the same. Depending on page size, font type, font size, margins, bindings, etc…, there are just too many different variables for this to be a standard.
Word count: While this doesn’t take into the consideration the miniscule differences that would occur in formatting overall, the word count is probably the best way to determine or have an idea of how long or short a story really is- and pictures/graphics don’t confuse things.
Why isn’t the word count included in basic book stats on retail and social sites?
File size: I have no idea why file size is listed on retail and social sites. Let’s be honest, if you’re reading a digital copy of a book, you probably have an e-reader or compatible device that’s well equipped to contain that book and many more. If not, you could always delete some other stuff you’re finished with. Again, how does the file size really help to determine the length of the story? If there are images/graphics, intros and acknowledgements, plus extras (which most ebooks now have), the file size isn’t going to be indicative of the actual length of the title story you purchased or borrowed.
So, what do these two books have in common? I haven’t given it much thought, but I know you can’t find a word count for either of them online (unless I’ve missed something, though Smashwords.com is on board with this)…
but more on these in a minute.
Now, this whole idea came to me a while back when I read a book that seemed to be a fairly good length, but once I finished it, it seemed like a very quick read. It’s true that when you’re really into a book you can fly through it, but this was not the case. After reading a few more books thinking that they would either be longer than they were or shorter than they were, I began to look back at the books’ formats.
Most of the books I read range between 250 and 350 pages, but now and then I read an epic or scan a short story- I never considered that there could be a major difference in the length of what I was reading outside the two parameters I just mentioned. After going back and looking at these books I realized that they all used different fonts, different font sizes, different paragraph and chapter spacing and more. While most of these books were in the 6 x 9 category, some were not, which again added to the deception…
Okay, maybe I’m getting a little carried away here. There’s no conspiracy to trick me into reading more or less than I want to, but surely you can understand why this issue has begun to slightly bother me.
Here’s an example of why I think page numbers and file sizes are virtually worthless. Pay close attention to the differences in page numbers and file sizes.
Discovery of Witches– pages: 594, digital file: 1085 KB, listen time: 24 hours and 2 minutes, word count: unknown
Eternal Curse– pages: 272, digital file: 1529 KB, listen time: unknown, word count: 82,330 (provided by me, the author)
What would be your guess as to what the word count for Discovery of Witches is? How long do you think the listen time would be for Eternal Curse? It’s not so easy to figure out; is it?
Is this solely my issue or does anyone else feel the way I do? Doesn’t anyone else wish the word count were offered up instead of or along with the page numbers or file sizes?
The books used in the example up top were chosen merely to show a contrast in the information publicly available. The information provided here came from Amazon.com and Audible.com.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords