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Study Shows Books Keep Getting Longer

Has it been taking you longer to finish books lately? It might not be your fault. As it turns out, it’s the books that are responsible: they’ve been getting longer and longer for years.

According to GalleyCat, new data comes to us courtesy of James Finlayson of Vervesearch. Finlayson analyzed data from more than 2,500 bestsellers lists and looked for patterns in the number of pages. An obvious one jumped out: the average book today has many more pages than the average book from 1999. In fact, the average number of pages has increased by 25% in just 15 years.

What does that mean in terms of pages? Finlayson says books from 1999 had, on average, 80 fewer pages than books do now. That’s a lot of extra reading!

Finlayson’s findings were first published by Flipsnack, and some other publications have since chimed in with some observations of their own. The Guardian, for instance, isolated Booker Prize winners and noted that the last five years’ worth of winners averaged 520 pages (and there was a 160-page novella in there, so just imagine how long the rest were!), while the first five winners of the prize averaged around 300 pages. The most recent winner, Marlon JamesA Brief History of Seven Killings, was 700 pages long. That’s a hundred pages per killing, Marlon!