What is a book?

What is a book?

According to Merriam-Webster it is a long, written or printed literary composition.

It is also a set of written, printed, or blank sheets bound together between a front and back cover. Think of lined notebooks or artists sketch books 

Books come in many styles and sizes. There have been giant printed books more as an art installation than a carry-around-in-your-back-pocket-type. A book by Mark Leach called Marienbad My Love has 17.8 million words in 10,710 pages. That would average out to 1662 words per page. It comes in 17 volumes. The author still considers it “a work in progress” (Mark Leach). There are other books in excess of one million words but that may be beyond the reach of most new writers, or not. How ambitious are you?

The shortest novel is, questionably credited to Ernest Hemingway. It is six words long.

And it goes:

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

So very much said in so few words. This is perfect proof of the adage, less is more. While it is debatably short flash fiction and not a novel, the readers imagination can immediately expand those six words into thousands.

Books are recognized by a number of factors. The two most prominent are: The number of words in the book or the number of pages in the book. There are some, like the Guinness Book of Records that count individual typed characters. The excuse given is that someone could publish a book with one word per page and have millions of pages,  just to get their name in the record book.

The following quotes are from an online streaming platform specializing in educational classes delivered by professionals in many fields. Authors teaching authors is just one of their areas. There is a fee involved in these classes of course. This same information is available through thousands of sources that could claim credit for it but this list was created by the “Master Class” staff:

Sizes of books

 According to the "Master Class" staff  a novel is a minimum 50,000 words but usually in the 80 to 100,000 range. 110,000 is long. Unless you are JRR Tolkien. One of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy has 175,000.

A novella is 10000 to 40,000 words.

A novelette has a 7500 to 17000 words.

A short story should run 4000 to 10000 words.

A flash fiction short story is 500 words or less.

Teenage or young adult books run 40000 to 80000 words.

Older children's 8-12 books are 30000 to 50000 words

A children’s age 7-8 book should be 1000 to 10000 and easy to read.

Children’s age 4-8 picture books range from 500 to 600 words and are read to them.

A short note:

Shorter novels are easier to market.

Longer novels are more expensive to print.

Novels with photos or drawings are more expensive to print.

Audiences expect a certain word count. Various genres have general lengths.

Your book can be whatever you choose it to be but one thing is for sure, if you do not

write it, it will never be a book. Pick up a pen and put your imagination to paper.