We recently wondered here — How Long is a Piece of String? — and today I’d like to take that question to the next thought to ask: “How Long is a Book?”
As we move into the Digital Age of Electronic Self-Publishing, and the loss of the Editorial Evil Eye, new questions of quality and content begin to beg the edges of a book world in which an author can now easily become the publisher of their own work.
Do you anticipate any loss of readability when an author decides to publish directly to you? What perils would you expect to find in the process?
How long is a book? Is a book 100 pages? 50 pages? Can a book be a single page? When does a book become so big that it gets split into volumes? 800 pages? 1,000 pages? Once you decide how long a work needs to be to be considered a book — then share with us “how long” is an article, a story and a poem. Are those efforts more appropriately measured in word counts instead of pages?
Should we begin to consider books by their word count instead of their page count? Are words a more reliable indicator of quality and effort than pages? If you feel books cannot be considered by their mass of words or pages — then what makes for a “Book Experience” over a simple “Reading Experience?”
As we move away from the printed page and into the digital realm where text size can be reformatted on the screen in real time — sometimes “doubling” the number of virtual “pages” you need to “turn” in the process — we begin, for the first time in our shared human history, to question function over format and experience over expectation when we consider the traditional role of the book in society.