I’m often amazed at how little some people read, especially if they are involved in the publishing industry in any way. In this business, reading is the business. Although I must admit I have little time to read for pleasure rather than for the sake of work.
Millions of people get their news off the Internet in the form of short videos, articles, blog posts, or in sound bites off the evening news. Attention spans are smaller than a gnat’s wing these days. It’s easy to feel like a freak for loving to read books that take more than five minutes to read.
Time is another factor. Many of us don’t have the luxury of time to curl up with a good book. Patience, too, is another important factor. In my opinion, people have become spoiled and expect everything to happen instantly and then get disappointed when quantity doesn’t always match quality.
Only time will tell what will withstand the test of time. It’s ironic that some of the bestsellers floating around today will actually fall into the pit of obscurity because they were more fad than anything else.
When it comes to length, I like reading well-developed stories regardless of length, but I do prefer longer novels hovering around 100k words. However, I’d rather read a series of books than lug a giant single book. Thankfully, ebooks make it easier to deal with the 10-pound tome dilemma.
In 2010 the erotic romance writing duo Jeanie Johnson and Jayha Leigh conducted a poll amongst their Yahoo Group fan base about the length of books and the results were quite interesting. Several votes suggested that readers like books between 25,000-60,000 words. Slightly more liked the 75-100k range...but the highest percentage voted for 150,000k plus!
Like I said, these results are several years old. Johnson and Leigh write erotic romance, and considering the plethora of “short” titles, which, in my opinion, “short” is less than 60k words, perhaps the above results are not as reliable as they were, but they are still interesting. But do the results above and the shift towards shorter reads hold true for this genre alone, or could the same be said across the board? How long is too long? Does there come a point in a single book or a series where you say, “Enough already!!”
You tell me. Seriously. Tell me what kinds of books you like to read and the lengths you prefer. Meanwhile, if you’re interested in the things I like to read or have read, come be my friend at GoodReads.com or check out my book reviews at New York Journal of Books.
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©2013. Zetta Brown is editor-in-chief of LL-Publications and Logical-Lust Publications. She is the author of several published short stories and the novel Messalina: Devourer of Men. If you like this post, then stop by Zetta’s Desk or Zetta’s House of Random Thoughts.