Word Count vs. Page Count

Ever felt that the page count of a book wasn’t an accurate reflection of how much you’ve read?

My Goodreads page count

This is skewed.

For Christmas 2010 I was gifted with a Kindle Keyboard (Kindle 3) so in the following year I read many Kindle editions, which rarely include a page count in the Goodreads database.

Number of books I’ve read on Goodreads

As you can see, I read a similar number in 2011 as I did in 2010, though I admit some of them were under a paperback’s equivalent of 200 pages.

And that’s another thing. Page counts can drastically differ between hardcovers and the many types of paperback.

For example:

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Hardcover: 390 pages          Paperback: 445 pages

The story has the same number of words but the hardcover’s pages are bigger, therefore more words fit on them. Some publishers compensate by enlarging the font and margin size, although this rarely results in the same number of pages between editions.

What’s a Goodreader to do?

AllRomance and Smashswords are the only sites I’m aware of that state word counts. Both are e-tailers. When reading ebooks, progress is measured by percentage or location. Imagine if it was by word, can you say ‘unwieldy’? But if word and page counts were available for every dead tree book and ebook, value for money would be easier to establish.


Bestselling author sells 60,000 word book for £7.99.
And a 120,000 word book for £8.99.

The 11% more expensive one has double the words, and therefore you’re getting more bang for your buck based on physical value alone.

You can see where I’m coming from, can’t you?

Pages hide the basic monetary value of a book. A great deal possess intentionally blank pages, adverts for other books, acknowledgements, indexes, etc. These aren’t always included in the page count, but some are.

I don’t want to be ripped off and I’d like an accurate way to measure how much I’ve read, because number of pages and number of books just doesn’t cut it with my perfectionism.

So, major retailers and publishers, please add this information for your readers.


3 thoughts on “Word Count vs. Page Count

  1. I’m not sure I agree that more pages = better value for money. There are plenty of authors who could do with a more aggressive editor. I recently read Simmons’ Drood, and would have gladly paid an extra pound for a hundred pages less 🙂


    1. Haha! I can see where you’re coming from. This is why I said “basic monetary value”. I was thinking in general terms, where favourites don’t factor in. I know a book by your favourite author possesses higher personal, qualitative value so you’d therefore be willing to pay more for it. When you know of no relevant value with say two books in front of you in a book store written by two unknown authors yet to make their mark, how would you determine which to buy? Which would be better value for money if you’re on a budget? Synopsis, reading the first few pages, quantitatively by page or word count? It’s just one aspect of the decision-making process.


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