Monday, August 4, 2014

Is Life Too Short For Bad Books?

Recent headlines indicate that more and more readers purchase ebooks, but never make it beyond the first 10 percent of the book before putting it down.

I admit I've become a fan of the shorter book, particularly in a day and age where many people, myself included, are pressed for time and have other options, including movies and Internet.

Are readers telling us life is too short for bad books? 

Take the case of a recent bestseller: Writes New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof 

We may now have a new “most unread best seller of all time.” Data from Amazon Kindles suggests that that honor may go to Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which reached No. 1 on the best-seller list this year. Jordan Ellenberg, a professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, wrote that Picketty's book seems to eclipse its rivals in losing readers: All five of the passages that readers on Kindle have highlighted most are in the first 26 pages of a tome that runs 685 pages.

Writes Ellenberg in a column entitled The Summer's Most Unread Books - How can we find today's greatest non-reads? Amazon's "Popular Highlights" feature provides one quick and dirty measure. Every book's Kindle page lists the five passages most highlighted by readers. If every reader is getting to the end, those highlights could be scattered throughout the length of the book. If nobody has made it past the introduction, the popular highlights will be clustered at the beginning.

It's interesting, too, that Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited subscription pays author royalties only after readers have read the first 10 percent of the book.

"KDP Select authors and publishers will earn a share of the KDP Select global fund each time a customer accesses their book from Kindle Unlimited and reads more than 10% of their book-–about the length of reading the free sample available in Kindle books-–as opposed to a payout when the book is simply downloaded. Only the first time a customer reads a book past 10% will be counted."


I used to force myself to continue reading a book, even when it was bad, just to give myself a sense of accomplishment. Now, if I’m not enjoying a storyline, the characters are poorly developed, or the plot could have been written in 100 pages less, I close the book.

I admit it.  I'm all about the page turner. Is life too short for bad books? 

Do you have books in your bookshelf where bookmarks show you stopped reading? 

What are your thoughts on book length and trends that reveal people are not making it to the end of the book?  

Your comments are most welcomed and appreciated.

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