Lola’s Ramblings: What’s your preferred Book Length?

Posted April 28, 2016 by Lola in Lola's Ramblings / 28 Comments


Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.

Today I want to talk about the length of books and series. I often find myself looking at the amount of pages when I come across a new book. I am not sure why exactly, but I like to know how long a book is and I have certain ideas in my head of what is short and what is long. And I realized that often when a book is long in my terms I find it daunting to start the book or even add it to my to-read list. So that made me think of my preferred book length and that in return made me think of series length as well. And I would love to hear your opinions on this topic.

What’s my preferred book length?

I would like to say that I am okay with any length for a book, but while that might be true to some extend, it’s also true that I have my preferences. I prefer to read books everywhere from about 120-350 pages. Shorter than 120 pages are okay too, although with very short stories I am afraid they might feel rushed as often with very short stories there is a chance that might happen. But I still read a fair share of short stories, especially by authors I already know. So if well written I don’t mind shorter stories.
However when it comes to the longer side I can get quite hesitant about starting a book if it’s really long. The weird thing is that I know it doesn’t matter, the length of the book rarely says something about how good it is or whether I will enjoy it, but to me it still feels s daunting to start a long book. I think part of this is that I don’t read very fast. It usually takes me a week or so to read one book, sometimes a bit longer or shorter depending on how much I like the book, how long it is and how much time I have/ make to read. So when reading a book that’s longer than 350 pages I know it will also take me longer to read and for some reason the idea of reading the same book for so long makes me hesitant. With the pressure of writing reviews and knowing how many other books I still want to read it seems difficult to start a book that will take me long to read. And realistically speaking it probably won’t take me that much longer, especially if it’s a good book, but still. It’s pretty much irrational, but I still can’t shake my slight hesitation when it comes towards longer books.

What’s my preferred series length?

I rather read multiple short books than one very long one, so that made me think of series compared to one large book. And yes I think a series is often less daunting than one 500 pages book. Then again series vary in length as well and very long series are daunting too, it’s difficult to start a series when I know it already has 13 books or so. When you start a series you know that if you enjoy it, you’ll want to read all the other books too and that’s 12 more books for your to read list in one go. I often rather start a series once the first book is just released as it’s easier to stay up to date, once you’re 3 or 4 books behind it can be hard to catch-up especially if the series is still ongoing. In general I start a lot of new series each year and I try to stay caught up with those I want to continue, but that’s not always possible. There are quite some series I’ve fallen behind in and really want to catch-up, but can’t afford to buy the missing books or make the time to spend reading them all, as there are also other series and books I want to read. I would say that the actual length of a series isn’t as important as how many books are released at a certain point when I start the series. Usually 3 or 4 books behind still works if the series has ended, but with an ongoing series 3 or 4 books behind it already feels like much. If at all possible I would like to stay only 1 or 2 books ahead in a series I want to read as that feel still doable to catch-up any time I like.

What’s your preferred book length? What’s your preferred series length?


28 responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: What’s your preferred Book Length?

  1. I read a lot of epic fantasy, so I’m used to reading huge books that can run over 600 pages, but I wouldn’t say I necessarily prefer that, because they do take me a long time to read, and sometimes I just prefer a quick read. Thankfully I only really post reviews on my blog every other week, so I feel less pressure to read more books.
    As for series, I quite like trilogies. 3 book seems like just the right amount to me! Unless I absolutely love a series, then i often find that I never get round to finishing it if it runs on across too many books.
    Laura recently posted…YA Heroines: Likes and DislikesMy Profile

    • When I was younger I used to read a lot of epic fantasy and those books do seem to be longer indeed. I don’t read as many of those books anymore now. I think the thing that bothers me most about long books is how long they take me to read, not sure why, but for some reason I don’t like ti when a book takes me too long to read. Although if a book is really good, it doesn’t matter as much.
      And indeed sometimes I just prefer a quick read.

      I also like trilogies or 4 or 5 length series. There’s something nice about those series that are a series, but not too long. It’s hard to keep up with long series and read all the books even if you enjoy it.

  2. I shy away from overly long books, and like you, I like to stay in that middle ground of roughly 250-350 pages. It also depends on my mood. Sometimes, I want to read something short and sweet (less than 100 pages). Others, I want to spend more time savouring a longer story.
    So anything between 100 and 250 pages I actually don’t like, because it’s not short enough, yet not long enough. I would never buy a stand alone novella. Of course there might be some exceptions.
    I also prefer reading those really short stories online, unless they’re part of a collection (more than one short story in a book).

    • I agree mood also plays a role. Sometimes I really want a short read that I can finish in a day or more or am in the mood for something longer. But most of the time I stay on the middle ground.

      I also think it really depends on the book and how it’s written. I’ve read short stories that felt rushed, but also those which seemed the perfect length. same with long books, that can drag at time,s while for others the length is perfect. It’s important the book is long enough to tell the story it wants to tell.

      I know some authors who write series that are all shorter reads. But usually most short stories I read are either part of a series or by an author I already know.

  3. I am like you in that really long books make me hesitate to pick them up. I know it doesn’t mean I won’t like them or anything but it just seems like will take up too much time or something. I like somewhere between 200-450 pages. I can read those fairly quickly and I like to get trough books timely. I do have a few long books on my TBR I really want to get to and just need to dive in and not worry about it.
    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog recently posted…Most Anticipated Books Coming Out SoonishMy Profile

    • Yes exactly, I know the length doesn’t tell me anything about whether I will like them or not, but long books still make me hesitant to pick them up. I also have some longer books on my TBR read list I want to read and I just have to stop worrying about the length.

  4. A 500-page book will have a completely different arc from a series, of course. So in a way they’re not the same thing. I do understand what you mean, though, Lola.

    For me, the longer the book the better. If I don’t like it, I just won’t read it. But if I do, I want it to go on and on. Of course that makes it difficult for an author because they have to come up with enough interesting stuff to fill a long book. But as a reader, when I’m interested in a story I don’t want it to end! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I agree they aren’t the same and have a different arc, I meant more in the total amount of pages I read. I mean whether I read two short books in a series or one long book, it’s still the same amount of pages read. So why feels the first easier or makes me less hesitant?

      I also don’t want it to end, but I also don’t want a too long book. Although there are definitely authors who write such good books I don’t even realize they are long. And for some story acrs multiple shorter books work better, so maybe that’s why?

    • Indeed if it’s a good book or not is most important, it’s just that I notice starting a long book makes me hesitant. I like novella’s, but I agree with you that they often cost too much. I think a novella should be 0.99$ or 1.99$ max, depending on the length.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Kitchen: Hummus RecipeMy Profile

  5. I actually don’t always look at length before starting a book. I do sometimes, but that’s usually only if I’m in a rush to read a book or in the mood for something quick or unsure whether I’ll like the book or not (in that case, I prefer shorter rather than longer). But my preferred length is 200-350 pages. I don’t like going below 200 because, as you probably already know, it’s hard for me to connect to characters quickly, and any shorter usually just isn’t enough for a good plot AND lots of character development, but I do go below 200 sometimes. I pretty much draw the line at 120, but even that is super short for me. And I’m generally ok with 350-500, but above 500 it starts to get daunting for me. I agree that longer doesn’t mean I won’t like the book, for me it’s just that I don’t DNF, so anything above 500 pages is a legit commitment for me lol.

    As for series, if a series already has more than five books out, I get scared off. Part of the reason is because I know I won’t be able to afford buying a million books in a new series. Another part of the reason is that more than five seems so long, and kind of like how I don’t DNF books, I don’t like to ditch series in the middle. I will sometimes, but, once I decide to read the second book, I like to keep going, at least until I reach some sort of natural ending point. And I worry I’ll get tired of any series longer than 5 books, even though I’m currently waiting for Book 8 in one series and Book 6 in another. But finding series I love that much are rare for me, I guess.
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Book Review: The Other Side of Gravity (Oxygen Book 1) by Shelly CraneMy Profile

    • I don’t usually look at the book length before starting a book, but it does often catch my attention in some way. In some cases it’s obvious like with physical books. And my kob e-reader also shows the pages amount. With my kindle I know how much % I usually read in a day so I judge the length based on that. I also know some bloggers show the page amount of a book and goodreads does too.

      Long series are daunting, I think 4 or 5 books out is my maximum as well. I also can’t afford to buy a lot of books, so long series are a big commitment and I might love the series and then can’t buy the next books, which would be bad.

      I can see how not DNF books makes this issue bigger, then a big book is a big commitment for sure, same with series. I do DNF, but if the first book is a 3 star on the higher end I will usually continue the series. I also am afraid I tire of long series and know some series don’t stay as good when they get long, but indeed there are also enough series that I love even while they are long-ish that prove me otherwise. I guess it also depends on the actual book or series.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Kitchen: Hummus RecipeMy Profile

  6. I tend to like in the 300 page or so range, although it doesn’t really matter. If I want to read the book I’ll go with it. Epic fantasy is often longer of course and that’s fine, if it’s a fantasy I’m really into the more the better lol. Who want a good story to end?

    As for series length, that can be tough. Again if it’s epic fantasy and there’s three (or even more) I’m down with it, since I like spending time in that world. On the other hand there have been a few series where there’s like 10 books or whatever and that does give me pause- like do I really want to jump into that? So yeah it varies. It is always a drag to start a series and then you gotta wait forever to get next installments. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Greg recently posted…World of WaterMy Profile

    • I agree it’s most important whether you want to read the book or not and if it’s good. It’s just a tendency I notice din myself that the longer books seem a bit daunting. But yes when I am reading a really good book, it can’t be long enough as I don’t want the story to end.

      Series of 3 or 4 books are okay, but if I see a series with 10 or more than 20 books already, it does make me pause for a bit.

  7. My answer is different depending on what hat I’m wearing. If I’m just reading for pleasure, long books and long series don’t affect me at all and it’s all about whether I enjoy the story and the writing. If I’m reviewing, I have to consider page length more. I accidentally had three 600+ paged books in a row back in February and it was not a smart move with the schedule of review books and tour review books I had. And yeah, I am relieved when I have a stack of review books to catch up and a few are more novella length and easier to get through. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sophia Rose recently posted…All For Hope by Olivia Hardin #ReviewMy Profile

    • Usually both the books I read for pleasure and those for review are about the same length. I do read a few longer books now and then, but I always am a bit hesitant to start them, unless it’s by an author I know.

      And three 600+ books in a row definitely sounds like it would get me into trouble with my review schedule. It can be nice to have a few short review books, so it feels like you’re knocking out a few books in less time.

  8. I don’t mind length for a good book. But a longer book/series, might make me think hard before starting it. I have Stephen King’s IT, which is like 44 hours or something (1000+ pages). I need to be a bit ahead on my reviews to not get behind, but I’m really excited to listen to it. Most of my audiobooks are more 6-12 hours (250ish-350ish pages).

    For series, on one hand, I like a long series to spend with characters that I love. On the other hand, I hate when a series runs on too long and gets stale. I say that most series 5-8 is a good number. That being said, I have some that I’m reading that are at 15 and going strong. I wouldn’t mind seeing more trilogies and stand alones.
    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted…Shadowed Audiobook by Rebecca Zanetti (REVIEW)My Profile

    • Whew 1000+ that is a lot of pages indeed and yes you really need to be a bit ahead, before you can tackle a book like that. I have an historical romance some bloggers recommended to me and it’s 600+ pages I think, but yes I need to be a few weeks ahead with reviews before I dare and read that one.

      I agree long series can be great because you can spend more time with characters you love, but they also risk getting too long and running stale. And if you start a long series you know that if you like it, that’s a lot of books you add to your to-read list and want to buy. It’s always great to see longer series that still run strong. I like trilogies or maybe a bit longer series, that’s usually a nice length for a series.

    • Kelley Armstrong is one of my favourite authors and her books are 400 pages or so and I really don’t mind, but when it’s a new to me author I am a bit hesitant to pick up a longer book. I agree that if the book is really good it doesn’t feel that long.

  9. This brings up a really good point for me – I tend to shy away from thick books (more than 400 pages or so), BUT I rarely check the number of pages on an ebook. So, sometimes when I go to write a review, I realize I read a relatively long book, but I didn’t know it at the time! I guess this is one benefit of reading ebooks!
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn – ReviewMy Profile

    • My kobo e-reader always displays the amount of pages, although it isn’t always correct or the same as a physical copy so it can be a bit misleading. And on my kindle app I know how much % I usually read in a day, so I gauge the length (about average, shorter or longer) based on that. I do agree that sometimes it’s better not to look at the length and just read the book, but I usually still spot it somehow and often shy away for the longer books.

    • Both longer and shorter stories probably have their own challenges. I read some rushed short stories, but also some well written ones :).

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