Does size matter?


What size should a novel be? How do you measure size in the age of eBooks? How much does size influence purchase?
Courtesy of MS Word I know that my novel Conall: Rinn-Iru (The Place of Blood) is precisely 128,709 words. The paperback version is 482 pages long and has a font style and size that I think is easy on the eyes. Conventional wisdom states that 400 pages and 250 words per page or less are preferred by traditional publishing houses. Books over the 100,000 word limit are less attractive as the bottom-line (profit) is lower. In the end, I chose to close the first in the Conall series where I thought there was a natural ending and segue into the next novel. 
When, however, it comes to the eBook version then size seems to be anyone’s guess. Most eBooks appear to come in around 1Mb of memory (George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series are about 2Mb) which is probably too small to impact profit. Thus, while eBook size is unlikely to be a profit issue, it is certainly a marketing/purchase issue.
A recent reviewer critiqued Conall: Rinn-Iru and, overall, I was pretty pleased with the review. However, he commented that, at 719 pages, the book could have been divided into two or possibly three smaller novels. I was amazed and somewhat perturbed! If I thought my book was that that length, then, yes, I would have considered dividing it. 
Obviously he was reviewing an eBook version. Therefore, out of curiosity I checked the eBook on my Nook. It was 344 pages - where had 140 pages disappeared? In the aid of research, I downloaded the Kindle Reader and, according to the app, the size of my book is 6127 locations which equates roughly to 235 pages – now I was down 250 pages! The mystery of the reviewer’s 719 pages remains. 
Reviews are critical to the success of a book. Thus, the question of “what’s the best format for a reviewer to read?” is pertinent. Prior to this, I preferred to mail reviewers the paperback version. After this latest review I am even more convinced that while an eBook may be convenient, printed is best. Finally, perhaps reviewers (myself included) who are reading the eBook could quickly cross-reference its page count against the print version.



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