Relative Book Length!


Something that's always bothered me (and I'm sure has bothered you) is when someone asks how long a book is and you have to describe how long it is... kind of... because you don't really know what to compare it to. So you're just like, "It's kinda long. But not really. The text is small/big and it has a lot/a little pages." 
You explained your book's tragic case of length confusion for this reaction. Nice.

That's to ambiguous for me. 
Don't ask me how long Froi of the Exiles is. I'll hurt you.

SO. I decided to crank some numbers and make something I've come to call 'Relative Book Length'. The idea is to have an 'at a glance' number that you could compare to another book's number and tell how much longer or shorter the book is. 

A great idea, I have had.

After some thinking about it and testing it, I've come to really like the idea. And just looking at the books I tested it on, it's a actually pretty accurate. 

So, what is it?

(((Page-chapter)*adj) + ((chapter*(adj*Header))))/2000

In English: The words on non-chapter-start pages added with the words on chapter-start-pages. Then divided by 2000 to make the number smaller. 

'Page' refers to the page number of the book. Flip open to the back of the book. See the last page number. Minus one from it. Add the last page that's filled with words. So if the book is 387 pages, but the last page is only half filled with words, you're at 386.5

'Chapter' is the amount of chapters in the book. 

'Header' is a place-word meaning the chapter header. It's not the best word, but it means the fraction of the page that's filled with words on chapter start pages. So if the chapter header takes half the page, Header value is .5. If chapter header takes up a third, Header value is .66. 

'Adj' is 'adjusted average words per page', obtained by counting how many rows are on each page (pick a page. Its the same for all non-chapter-start pages), then multiplying by the amount of words that are in a FULL LINE of text on a page. Once you have that number, flip through the book and take a guesstimate as to how much that blank space after dialogue lines adds up to, on average. Multiply your previous number by that. There's your 'adj' value. So let's say the book has 500 words per page, but 10% of that is blank space because dialogue. 500*9/10 = 450. 

The 2000 is just an arbitrary number I picked because it was an easy number. On all the test-books I did, it kept the results small and easy to read and compare, as opposed to having to compare numbers like 9874765 and 987876587 (not real results). 

Here's a snapshot of the excel sheet I did this in:

A higher number means a longer book.

Note that longer DOES NOT MEAN it's a harder book. Different people read different styles easier. This is just based on word count, and that's it. 

Which is why it's RELATIVE book length. It might take someone longer to read Never Fade than it took me because they aren't used to that writing style. 

Something I want to make is a separate Excel sheet that has simple input prompts for chapters, pages, lines, words, and all that, and then spits out the RBL value for the stuff you put in. It'll be easy enough to make, but I'm tired. 

Also, needless to say, this thing is incredibly difficult to use with Kindle books or other E-books because you can't just flip through them all willy-nilly to get the Header and fraction value you need for Adjust. But E-Readers (or at least my Kindle) has this neat little progress bar under each book on the main screen, showing how long it is AND how much of it I've read. It's nifty. 

Now: Why did I pick those four books?
Divided: It was a foot away from me and it's small.
Never Fade: Easily the heaviest thing on my bookshelf. 
Oblivion: It's huge. 
Severed Tower: Small text. 

Once the Excel sheet is more user-friendly and it's easier to get a book's number I'll test more books just because. 

But until then...


Yay =3



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