P1040587As part of my weight training program I lifted four books I intend to read over the next few weeks [ authored by Jo Nesbo, Leif G.W.Persson, Hakan Nesser and Robert Harris] in order to photograph them with a few older books authored by people who also sold a few books in their time. 

With the Man Booker Prize going to young Eleanor Catton for The Luminaries, a nineteenth century murder mystery, that weighs in at 832 pages I wonder if this is all part of a cunning plot to sell Kindles, and other electronic reading devices. Readers faced with such huge books will have no choice but to download an electronic version, or face permanent wrist and shoulder pain. 

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Norman – LOL! Yes, indeed, I can see a new Olympics event related to book lifting. There has been a trend in the last couple of decades towards longer books. And honestly, I’ve never read a book that was engaging because it was long.

  2. FictionFan says:

    This could explain why the dreaded TBR pile never seems to go down…

  3. The thing is, you couldn’t take any of those mighty doorstops on a train could you? The Kindle does win for that….

  4. TracyK says:

    Oh no, I want to read all of those books (someday) and I did not know they were all so long. Oh well.

    My problem with the Kindle is I don’t like to read really long books on it. It drives me crazy to not be able to tell where I am and the percentage just doesn’t work for me.

  5. kathy d. says:

    Oh, no. I’m daunted by the length of The Luminaries. As I get older, I find I’m reading slower. I can’t read a long book quickly. Now the latest Montalbano “Treasure Hunt,” is 272 pages, two days’ reading for me, but it’s a paperback, small pages and not much text on a page.

    Are writers being paid by length? Are publishers selling more books if they’re long? Can they price books higher if they’re longer and thus see more profits? There must be a reason for this.
    Does a reader think s/he is getting a better deal paying for a longer book? Is this about competition between publishers?

    I’d like to know the reasons. Meanwhile, I’m sticking to shorter books. I can’t lug these door stops around, and it’s too overwhelming to face 500 or more pages?

    I read J.K. Rowling’s The Cuckoo’s Calling, which was 454 pages. It took me a long time, and it’s got a lot of text per page and much detail; it is not a quick read. I liked it though. That’s my limit.

  6. Norman Price says:

    Thanks for your comments and the interesting questions raised.
    I have been away for a few days in the beautiful Georgian city of Bath.
    I took my kindle [I can’t really get on with them] but ended up borrowing a book from my son’s collection of unread spy thrillers, Le Carre’s A Most Wanted Man. He didn’t mind as he seems to work about 20 hours a day.
    When I got home I picked up Police; Jo Nesbo so it is anyone’s guess when I finish the Le Carre.
    The irony is that by the time you are retired, and have time to read those long books your brain and eyesight decide that you read that much slower.
    I do think a minority of readers feel a thicker book means better value for money, and publishers believe a thick book will sell better. Which probably says more about the publishing industry than the intelligence of readers.

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