Preferred Length for Books

preferred book length

Hi everyone! It’s Thursday which has come to mean that it’s time for me to post my weekly discussion.

I recently noticed quite a few other bloggers mentioning that there are books they’ve wanted to read for a long time but haven’t read yet because they’re so long and the blogger is intimidated by the length. But I’ve also seen a few people mention that they love to read really long books because it immerses them into the story for a longer period of time and they get more time with their favorite characters. This got me wondering which of these views is more popular.

I’ll admit I’m quite intimidated by books that are really long. If it’s a book I really want to read, the length usually doesn’t deter me but I’m unlikely to pick up a book on a whim if it’s 500+ pages. There are times though that I’ve ignored books that I’m interested in because the length just seems like too much (A Game of Thrones, anyone?). There are two main reasons why I don’t pick up books that are really long: 1. my attention span is terrible and it’d take me an absurd amount of time to finish a really long book and 2. long books often have very long (and very slow) beginnings which make it hard for me to get myself interested in the book.

With that said, I also don’t want the books I read to be too short (although I’d rather read a very short book than a very long one). I like reading a shorter book (around 200 pages or less) every once in awhile, but it often leaves me a bit disappointed because I want more time with the story and characters. Sometimes books of such a short length can feel rushed as well as the author is trying to fit a full story into 150 pages. Somewhere between 300-400 pages is pretty ideal for most books in my opinion. Obviously different stories require different lengths though.

My preferred book length can also change depending on what I’ve recently read and what else is going on in my life. For example, if I’ve just finished a really long book or if the last book I read took me a long time to read, I’ll likely try to go for a short and quick read as it kind of breaks up my reading and stops me from feeling like I’ve been reading the same one or two books for the past three weeks. Likewise, if I have a lot going on with school, I may opt for a shorter book since I likely wouldn’t have much time to read and a 300 page book could end up taking forever to read.

Despite everything that I’ve just said, I think the most important thing is that the author uses the length required for their story. If their story requires 600 pages, they should write 600 pages. If their story only requires 100, they should write 100 pages. If the writing, and especially pacing, is done well then readers probably won’t even notice the length.

These are a few reasons I have on why I don’t like books that are really long or really short, but what about you? Do you have a preferred book length? Does length not matter to you?

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14 thoughts on “Preferred Length for Books

  1. I don’t really care much about the length- if a book intrigues me, then I will go pick it up regardless of the number of pages. I’m not one to hesitate in marking a book as DNF, so for very long books, I can always opt not to finish them if I find that the first few chapters are a bit dragging.

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  2. When it comes down to it, I’m generally not too concerned about the length of a book if it’s interesting. However, I think the idea length for a YA novel is 300-500 page, 400-600 for an adult novel. I find that a lot of books that go beyond that tend to ramble unnecessarily, or add a lot of details the reader doesn’t need. I think it’s important to be concise in writing, and that should go for fiction novels as well.

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    • I’ve definitely read a few books that go into way more detail than is needed (or wanted). It’s nice to have enough detail where you feel invested in the world, characters, story, etc. but too much detail ends up being exhausting to read (and remember!).

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  3. I don’t usually look at the length of a book when I’m deciding what to read, but sometimes when I feel like a book will take a lot of my time, I’ll leave it until I’m sure I can fully immerse myself into the book.

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  4. Most of the books I read are around the 400 page mark, and I love that length. I do get intimidated by huge books, like I’ve started the Outlander series and want to read the next book but it’s over 1000 pages so I’m just thinking “ohhhh that’ll take a while”, but then I just think that the other books aren’t going anywhere. They’ll wait for me. I feel like it depends on the genre. Usually contemporary books are shorter, while books in genres such as fantasy tend to be a lot thicker. Probably because so much more world building needs to be written. But like you said, as long as the story doesn’t seem to be cut short or dragged out, and is just the right amount of pages, all is good 🙂

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  5. I don’t usually care about the length of the books, but I must admit I sometimes do get intimidated by those that have long length. I also think that 300-400 pages is the ideal length. I love it when a book, no matter how long it is, leaves me wanting more it just proves how great that book is.

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  6. Great discussion!!

    Books over 400 pages intimidate me immensely because of my attention span, haha. I know a lot of people don’t have a problem with it, but it’s really physically difficult for me to read huge books (some of the the only exceptions are Illuminae and Harry Potter). I’m currently reading Night Film which is like 600 pages and despite the fact that I am LOVING it – I’m still struggling. Then on the other end of the scale I sometimes struggle with short stories too because I feel like I’m missing the point haha.

    I’m not sure what my ‘perfect’ length would be because like you said books should be written the length that they need to be. Most of the books I read are all U400 pages though.

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    • My being intimidated by books starts at around 500 pages haha There are very few books that I’ve read that are over 500 pages. It’s an attention span thing for me too. I also end up getting discouraged because I don’t read that much at once (because of my attention span) so even when I do read, I feel like I’m not making any progress and it takes me forever to finish it.

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  7. I’m also intimidated by long books (long for me being over 600 pages). I usually really love them after I read them because I’ve spent so much time in that world and with those characters. I guess they have more of my time and are able to give a better impression??? I don’t have a preferred length. It really only depends on my mood hehe.

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