Does Size REALLY Matter?

Hehe. Bet that title got your attention. But no, I’m not talking about sex. And I’m definitely not talking about male anatomy. I’ll leave that to the writers of erotica.

Anyway, I’m talking about books you filthy-minded people. We all have our own ways of deciding what to read next. I know I do. I have my TBR piggy that I’ve never once used. Which means that I usually just take a look at the last five books I’ve read, make sure I’m not reading the same author or series as any of those five, and pick a book. No special formula or anything.

BUT the length (size in the title of this post) does matter a little bit. The longest book I’ve ever read was 596 pages? I think. Which isn’t really too long. And I haven’t read any George R. R. Martin, even though I am somewhat interested in doing so. But his books are giant bricks, right? Eh. I just don’t feel like devoting such a long time to one book.

So yes, the length of the book matters to me. I like my books in the 300-450 page range. Not too long, not too short. What about you? Do you like your books longer? Average? Maybe a little on the short side? Ha. I really need to stop writing this now.


On this day in 2014 I published An Author’s Worst Enemy: Writer’s Block.

 

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60 thoughts on “Does Size REALLY Matter?

  1. First and foremost… I immediately knew you were talking about book size in the title. Why? Because… well… I’m a book nerd. So there! LOL

    Second… I’ve read George R.R. Martin (all of them). I’ve devoted the time. I’m glad I did! I’ve also read all of the Harry Potters. The later books are pretty hefty in girth. That is to say they are thick. And meaty. (ok, I’ll stop there πŸ˜‰ ) The point is, none of them felt too long. I’ve recently just finished Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It was a whopping 178 pages. It didn’t feel too short.

    I guess, for me, size doesn’t matter. It’s the content that counts. I’ve read books where I’ve felt they were too long, or too short. But if a story is as long as it needs to be, then it really doesn’t matter if it’s 100 pages or 1000.

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    • Hahaha you’re worse than me! πŸ˜‚

      I’ve read books less than 200 pages too. Didn’t seem to short to me, either. And you’re right. But 1000 pages is bleh to me. No idea when I’ll get around to reading one that long.

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      • LOL…. I can’t resist a good pun!

        I will say this on book size… to my kids, it’s like a badge of honor. My daughter is reading the YA series Pegasus, by Kate O’Hearn. Each book clocks in close to 400 pages. When you’re 10 years old, reading a BIG book is BIG deal, apparently. I don’t know… I grew up before dirt was invented. It was definitely before reading levels and classifications such as “middle grade” and “YA.”

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      • Hahaha I can see that.

        Hm. I definitely never read books like that at that age. That is a big deal. Way to go, her!

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  2. But more in depth, why does book size, regarding how much reading material there is, really matter? There are books that are long but have very poor quality for reading material. Some are very short but powerful and excellent. So why does size really matter for you? Genuine curiosity here.

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  3. I like big books. I usually read books about 600-800 pages long, but I wouldn’t mind reading anything larger. It’s just that I’m busy with school, so I don’t have much time to read except in the morning and before I sleep, so I try to stick to shorter books for the mean time so that I finish as many off my reading list as possible.
    Great post, though. Keep reading, and have a nice day/evening.

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  4. The thicker the book, the longer the word count, the more I avoid it if it really isn’t at the top of my list to read. (hence why I have never gotten through the first volume of the letters between Georgia O’Keefe and someone else) (The same goes for The Count of Monte Cristo) But occasionally I will attempt a longish or thicker book. Twilight springs to mind. The last book was long. Same with Harry Potter. As far as that, no, I like mid range. And short. Pretty much anything above 80K words

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    • I don’t know if I avoid longer books, but if I’m picking between a 500 page book and a 300 page book that I want to read, then I’ll usually choose the shorter. But if it comes in a series, then there’s no point in avoiding it.

      I’m only two books into HP. But I know they get longer.

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      • By book 4 of HP you are sitting there thinking, ‘am I ever going to finish it?” but they you keep reading and two days later you are ready for book 5… πŸ™‚ I like a lot of shorter fiction in general, but honestly there is no rhyme nor reason to what I pick up. It just has to sound good.

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      • I doubt it. I like the series.

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      • Which is why, if you are like any of the rest of us Harry Potter maniacs, you will probably read book 5 in two days. Unless you don’t like staying up till three in the morning.

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      • Maybe. I’m usually catching up on my DVR at that hour. Lol

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      • I rarely stay up and read at that time. I’m usually on Tumblr or something. But when I was reading the series, it was as JK was publishing, so everyone was waiting anxiously for the book. When it came, just after being published, my girl friend and I were both reading it around the same time. I think she actually finished it before I did. We were all done in two days and then having to wait a year or two for the next one!

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      • Haha I don’t read books as authors write them. And I don’t rush through series. But I did finish season one of Bosch, the Amazon show based on the Harry Bosch books, in two days. And House of Cards in the same time. So I know about waiting forever.

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      • So is Bosch any good? I was seriously curious, but I haven’t wanted to try out Amazon yet. And how is House of Cards?

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      • Easily better than any other current crime show. It plays out much more like a book rather than a TV show. House of Cards is the best show going right now. Period.

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  5. No, i could read a short book, but i always end up feeling that there could be more, with the story. So I naturally stick to long, worded books, definitely with a number of them in a series. I remember feeling like there the story in wheel of time series could still continue, and that was 14 books. I’ve read George R.R. Martin, and it’s one that seems to leave me satisfied, and maybe a little tired. Currently fastidiously tackling the malazan book of the fallen, if I finish it would be the biggest size I’ve swallowed yet (don’t take that any other way).

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  6. I stopped reading your post after you said it wasn’t about sex.

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  7. The length of a book doesn’t make much of a difference when I’m deciding what to read next. Some of my favorite novels are over 1000 pages. I’m probably more likely to pass on a short novella. If I’m spending money on a new book I want it to last a few days and I read fast. But then again Animal Farm is really short and one of my favorites.

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    • Hmm. I think it means the most go me when I’m buying new books. Cause I always think it’ll just sit on the shelf for months and months if it’s a bit long. I might just keep skipping over it. I think I’ve had John Grisham’s “A Time to Kill” for like a year but haven’t read it. I think it’s like 500+ pages. I think.

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  8. Personally, I love novellas and short stories. Not because they’re a quick read, but more because I like faster paced stories or just a really great scene. With long books, sometimes the plot feels like it’s being dragged out unless it’s a series. Then again, Khaled Hosseini’s novels are a little thick and I adore them. Guess it just depends on the story being told.

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  9. That’s the ideal length for me as well, but I do have several long books on my TBR list (Infinite Jest is the longest, I believe). Annnnd I haven’t gotten to them for a reason πŸ˜› I am extremely fond of binge reading, and 450 pages is about the max I can read over 2-3 sittings. I really hate leaving books half-read, so I tend to avoid long books unless I have time to read every single day. Which hasn’t happened for many years.

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    • Haha I’m the same! I’ll buy a book and then when I get it it it’ll sit in my shelf FOREVER. I have two right now that I haven’t read because they’re a little long. Whoops.

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  10. Allow me to interject a view from a new Author:

    In 2010, I hurt my back at work. (again) While on Workers Comp leave, I began writing a story from the couple of sentences bouncing around inside my head. Since I didn’t have the daily grind going on, there existed a lot more room in there than while at work. More words followed, seeming effortless.

    That story became my (still) WIP “Challenge of The Velah.” I also, soon after, began my “Barbarian” story for the same reasons.

    After writing what I considered a good portion, I checked the word count. 16,000 on the Barbarian and 13,000 on the Velah. “Cool” I thought.
    When I checked online to find the best length for a novel, I found that the average word count for either of my genres for a bona fide novel is 50,000. Minimum. I felt almost overwhelmed at not even being halfway to that.

    Unfortunately, for Writers, we cannot go by pages, but by words. For an unpublished like myself, that’s a lot of writing, and at the same time the websites for helping us all claim one needs to cut the writing “down to the bone”, to make as few words as possible say as much as possible.

    Then, when I do take the time to read someone like George R. R. Martin or another who is ultra-popular, there are multitudes of spots where there is an “on-and-on” thing. Conflicting information, there.

    So, I am happy to read the opinions of readers, as to approximately how many pages they consider optimum. I can chunk the old advice out the window and look at that now, right?

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  11. The bigger the book, the better for me. I read books like they’re going out of style so I need something that will last me longer!

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  12. Size matters. If it’s short it had better be bloody good. Books are too expensive in Australia to waste $32 on 186 pages when I can spend the same amount on 400! 2 sous a line.

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    • $32? I hope there’s some kind of conversion I’m missing cause I wouldn’t spend $32 on any book.

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      • Australian prices for you. Big tax.

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      • What about Book Depository?

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      • Yep, for all my non fiction books. But seriously, sometimes I walk past a bookshop and I just fancy a book, there and then. $32 is cheap in many cases. But then, oz prices for IKEA furniture are double that of the US.

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      • Well if you’re talking about hardcovers, then $32 is basically what they cost over here when you take into account the difference in currency. I’m assuming that you’re not talking trade or mass market paperbacks. I hope not.

        And I’ve never bought anything from IKEA, so I have no idea if they’re expensive or what.

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      • Nope, paperback. I’m serious. We pay so much more for everything here. iTunes movies: add at least 1/3 to US prices THEN convert to $AU. Think living in NY. Then add 10% just because. And that’s average for a city of less than 2 million. We looked at apartments in downtown Manhattan and thought they looked pretty reasonable price wise. We have a goods and services tax that’s only 10% but we also have a luxury tax on top of that. Books apparently are a luxury.

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      • I’m never going there. Lol

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      • Lol, tourists are always surprised by our high standard of living costs. But our minimum wage is $16 per hour, and it’s a living wage. Swings and roundabouts! 😜

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      • We have cities with minimum wage that high. And books aren’t affected. There’d be no bookstores in those areas if the prices were raised. Especially when Amazon is already going to be cheaper to begin with. Eh. I don’t know.

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  13. I’m a fan of books 300-600 pages. I’m currently attempting the arduous task of reading Les Miserables, and that’s 1400 pages, with TINY type. Yeesh! That’s a bit long for me, but it’s on my book bucket list, so I WILL prevail! Sometimes, size does matter depending on the genre. I have a hard time picking up middle grade and YA books that are huge. Which is a problem for me, since my MG book is currently too long. So it’s a lesson I have to learn. But otherwise, length isn’t a problem. Less than 250 pages, and I feel like the writer hasn’t explored everything they could have. Not that what they’ve written is bad, but I feel like something might be lacking.

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