Book Sizes and Page counts

One element that some readers use to determine a purchase or even their enjoyment of a book is page count. When you go to retail sites like Amazon, you'll see a page count listed on the product description page. Seems cut and dry, right?

But what readers don't know is that the page count isn't reflective of how long a book actually is or is not. Page count is determined on a number of factors:
1. font size
2. line spacing
3. margin spacing
4. the actual book dimensions

The mass paperbacks are the smaller ones. There may be slight variation in their sizes, but they're around 6.9 x 4.2 inches.

Trade paperbacks are larger and can vary more significantly, like 6x9 or 8x5. Then there are hardbacks, but I'm going to leave that out of this discussion for now. Here's a picture from my personal collection to show the differences.

Most self-published books are trade size (the middle one in the picture above). The print distributor I use does not offer anything smaller. So readers who have devoured a lot of those smaller books are used to the page numbers in relation to size.

You can have a book published in mass paperback with the exact same word count as one published in trade, and the mass paperback will have a larger word count. The smaller paperback has smaller dimensions, so it requires more pages. But on the flip side, that publisher on the trade books might decide to increase their font size and line spacing so much that it exceeds the mass paperback size.

I've occasionally had readers comment that my books are shorter than the last, not realizing they are actually longer. Even my page count listed on retailer sites will show the book is longer. You can also look at the product page on amazon, for instance, and it will show the book dimensions. Hardback books and even trade will increase the font size and line spacing. Grab any book on your shelf that's hardback and compare the spacing between lines and font size to your smaller books. It makes the book bigger and also more comfortable to read.

Most authors I know think in terms of word count. That is our language when referring to book size. If you asked me my page count on any random book, I seriously won't know the answer. ;-)
You can read more about word count HERE.

 According to wikipedia:

Classification Word count
Novel       40,000 words or over
Novella     17,500 to 39,999 words
Novelette     7,500 to 17,499 words
Short story     under 7,500 words

Many urban fantasy books I read seem to average around 90K words, but some are in the 60K range. Every genre seems to have a different average. High fantasy books are often longer, for example.

Sometimes long books feel short, and there's a good reason for that. It was exciting and held your interest. Also, the more action scenes you put in there with shorter sequels (time between action scenes), the fast-pace will make it read like a shorter book. I've had a few readers remark that CHARMING is a novella. It's not! It's a full-length novel.  It is shorter than the average length of the Seven Series books, so that probably accounted for some readers feeling that way, in addition to it being more action-packed.

At the end of the day, it's about your experience reading the story. I have read some amazing novellas that I would gladly pay the price of a full-length book.

Just for fun, I am listing all my books below with their actual word count. :)  Separated by series so you can see how the series progresses. And based on the average word count for novellas listed above, you can see my novellas fall within the high range.  Basically, it's impossible for me to keep it short. Just look at the length of this blog post.

  95,254    STERLING
100,138    TWIST
129,956    IMPULSE
130,583    GRAVITY
135,588    SHINE
  30,075    THE GIFT (novella)

91,573      RISK
33,149      CLOSER (novella)

112,565    SEVEN YEARS
118,660    SIX MONTHS
106,259    FIVE WEEKS
104,265    FOUR DAYS
109,065    THREE HOURS
106,329    TWO MINUTES
129,142    ONE SECOND
  60,281    CHARMING
  33,806    WINTER MOON (novella)

100,285    KEYSTONE
105,152    RAVENHEART
104,474    DEATHTRAP
118,476    GASLIGHT 
108,812    BLACKOUT

Dannika Dark Books