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?


  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.


  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.


  4. Av8tor1988 says:

    My minimum is 250 pages, with a few exceptions.


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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. 🙂


  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.


  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..


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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. 🙂


  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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