harry-potter-spinesWe know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but what about by its spine? On the Scholastic “On Our Minds” blog, Jessica writes about the common misconception that kids won’t read books that are too lengthy. But she notices there is significant evidence that this is a misconception.

Look at some of the titles being read by kids and teens.  Besides the Steve Jobs book weighing in at 656 pages, the smallest book in the Twilight series clocked in at just fewer than 500 pages.  The rest of them were bigger.  The books in the Harry Potter series regularly topped the 500 page mark.  The Hunger Games trilogy when read all together exceeds 1,100 pages.

When a series catches kids’ imagination, Jessica writes, they’ll read that series no matter how long it, or the individual books included in it, are.

While this is, of course, true, it got me started thinking about one of the difference between e-books and print books. With print books, you can tell at a glance exactly how long it is. Even when you’re browsing Amazon, you’ll see a listing that tells you the number of pages, and you can at least guesstimate from that how thick it must be. But what about when you see an e-book is “242 K”?

Perhaps it will become harder for people to tell how long an e-book is, and the stigma against recommending huge books will go away. (Certainly the problem of carrying huge hardcovers will diminish. As Harry Potter demonstrated, textbooks aren’t the only paving-stone books kids read.)


  1. Scholastic Inc is, it is understandable, pushing it’s business. BUt it is wholly wrong.
    All children are different. Many kids love reading, others don’t. Some love long stories, some love short bites. Only parents have a clue about their own children.

    While it is true that Potter transformed kids reading and suddenly tiny people were ploughing through these enormous lumps at a frightening pace … the norm is something very different.

    Chris – you are right about knowing the length of eBooks in advance. All eBooks should come with a word count as standard. Personally I hate long books. If they can’t say it in a reasonable length, then there is only a tiny chance that it will be half way decent if they take twice as long.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail newteleread@gmail.com.