What’s your preferred book length?

I saw this topic on Lola’s Ramblings and decided I had to weigh in.

What is your preferred book length? Long? Short? Medium? And does the size of a book determine whether or not you will pick it up off the shelves?

I have to say… length really doesn’t matter all that much to me. I have books on my shelves that are super long, and books that are super short. My favourite books are my favourite because of the quality of the work inside – if they’re short, then they get to the point quickly, and if they’re long, then they don’t drag things out.

I think judging books by their length is a strange concept too, because I read eBooks quite a lot, so judging a book on size doesn’t often work. And when I buy physical books, I pick them up based on their cover and blurb, not their length.

What about you guys? What is your preferred book length?

About Jodie @ Words Read & Written

Book blogger & aspiring author.
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17 Responses to What’s your preferred book length?

  1. I agree, it’s all about the quality of the writing, there cannot be an `ideal’ book length. Love to get lost for days in a gripping, detailed history book that runs to 90,000 words, or I can ponder on the points in a well argued essay on Spiked, or feature in a magazine that’s just 1500 words.

    Think it’s hard to develop characters, plot and truly engage the reader in a novella at say 35,000-40,000 words unless your prose is pin-sharp and pacy. You have make each sentence of dialogue really count in a shorter novel too, maybe that’s a good thing?

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  2. egbertstarr says:

    I like a book that’s either as thick as a long Russian winter, or one that will help me reach the table at a restaurant.

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  3. I read a lot of ebooks and it’s often a surprise how long a book really is. I like it to be between 230 and 300 pages.. Otherwise I’m kind of calculating already that I need more time to finish if it’s 400 pages or more.

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  4. Av8tor1988 says:

    My minimum is 250 pages, with a few exceptions.

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  5. EDC Writing says:

    I’d like to see more books coming in at ~50 to 60K words … far too many stories seem stretched at 80-90K. My own WIP may not make 50K and that’s fine by me…when a story’s done its done! Ultimately pace, flow and energy matter most to me.

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  6. A Bookish Girl says:

    I don’t judge by length what I will read or buy, but I do judge when I will read it. If it is a collection of short stories or a book shorter than 100 pages, I can read it in a day or two during lolls at work. Books of up to 500 pages, I can read during the school semester without overwhelming my school or work. (They only take a week or two, so an assignment isn’t neglected too long.) Anything over that, I read when school and work has slowed.

    Really, I have to time when I read long books because I have no ability to put a book down for ANYTHING. When you have work to do, this all-consuming commitment can be detrimental.

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  7. I am more concerned with the type of book, or my purpose for reading. I read a lot of books in order to learn a new skill or for professional development. Those types of books are effective at around 200 pages. Sometimes I choose a book because I believe the author or subject will challenge me and help me develop my reading skills. These books are often 400 pages or more. If I am reading for pure entertainment I find the books I chose to be between 200-300 pages. I chose books that serve a purpose for me and as long as they do that I dont care how long or short they are.

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  8. rolandclarke says:

    Like you, Jodie, I’m not that bothered by length. To me quality is what counts. Lord of the Rings is among my all-time favourites, but so is The Little Prince. Its how the words flow, not how many there are.

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    • I agree, I judge a book by how well it knows what it wants to be and how well it accomplishes being that thing. If you’re a 500,000 word monstrous epic fantasy, great! Just make sure you’re a good one. If you’re a 20,000 romance novella, great–just be the best novella you can be. If that makes sense. 🙂

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  9. Lola says:

    I do think quality is more important than quantity. And the pace of a book, a long book can be great as long as it doesn’t drag and same goes for a short book. It just depends on what’s the right length for the story. But as I don’t have as much time to read, I usually prefer books between 150-350 pages as those I can finish in a week or so.
    Having said that I won’t not read a book because of it’s length, but it does make me more hesitant. I never really got the amazon pages system, but my kobo and physical books do show the amount of pages. And some bloggers list the page amount of a book when they review it.

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  10. Nitin says:

    Nice topic. I think everyone has a sweet spot, where they are comfortable with the length, and continue reading without tiring themselves out. I think for me it’s 400 pages, which I’m trying to improve by reading 600+ pages books these days..

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  11. It depends. I’ve read books that took less than a day to finish and I’ve read the Inheritance cycle. So long as I like what I read I don’t care how long or short it is.

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  12. Jinzo_2400 says:

    Size doesn’t matter,only what is written….if the writer can hold the attention with a good story,you don’t even think about how many pages it is.

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  13. As short as possible. But really its like you say, all about the quality.
    I’d prefer 200 words of an average story, than 400. But a good story is a good story regardless of length.

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  14. Length doesn’t matter to me at first glance, but I do have a preference for those long tomes in which I can lose myself. The Brothers Karamazov and the Harry Potter novels spring to mind.

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  15. About 300 pages is good for me. I read as I walk and so anything much over that gets a little heavy after a while. 🙂

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  16. Jay Dee says:

    Doesn’t matter to me much. I often read books that are nearly 1,000 pages. But they take too long, and I often do like to read shorter ones, as well.

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