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Open letter to Authors Regarding Page Counts
#51  JSWolf 12-06-2019, 11:57 AM
Quote Pulpmeister
Just to confuse the issue still further, here are some authentic word counts I have dredged up, all from well-known authors:

Get Shorty (Elmore Leonard): 80,000
Lassie Come-Home (Eric Knight): 55,000
Captain Blood (Rafael Sabatini): 114,000
Shane (Jack Schaefer): 45,000
The Nonesuch (Georgette Heyer): 105,000
A Certain Smile (Françoise Sagan): 31,000
The Executioners, aka Cape Fear (John D MacDonald): 55,000
Beau Geste (P C Wren): 139,000
The Scarlet Pimpernel (Baroness Orczy): 84,000
The Toff and the Stolen Tresses (John Creasey): 55,000
Going Postal (Terry Pratchett): 116,000
The Stars are Dark (Peter Cheyney): 76,000
Lady Chatterly's Lover (D H Lawrence): 117,000
Skylark 3 (E E [Doc] Smith): 83,000
Cakes and Ale (Somerset Maugham): 70,000
Leave it to Psmith (P G Wodehouse): 88,000
The Saint in New York (Leslie Charteris): 72,000
Treasure of the Sierra Madre (B Traven): 112,000
You Only Live Twice (Ian Fleming): 66,000
Unreliable Memoirs (Clive James): 68,000
The Fabulous Riverboat (Philip José Farmer): 85,000
Maigret and the Killer (Georges Simenon): 42,000
The Case of the Footloose Doll (Erle Stanley Gardner): 55,000
Nature Girl (Carl Hiaasen): 95,000
Flying Finish (Dick Francis): 80,000
Farewell My Lovely (Raymond Chandler): 81,000
Cannery Row (John Steinbeck): 50,000
Raise the Titanic! (Clive Cussler): 110,000
But, the problem is that these word counts are probably just the story and does not include anything else like the copyright, list of other books, previews, etc.
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#52  Hitch 12-06-2019, 04:09 PM
Quote JSWolf
But, the problem is that these word counts are probably just the story and does not include anything else like the copyright, list of other books, previews, etc.
Wolfie, dear:

Nobody gives two s**ts about the word count of the front- or back-matter, snookums. It's not going to significantly affect the reader's enjoyment, or lack thereof, of the story, nor how long it will take to read. It's JUST frontmatter. Only in rare circumstances does the FM add anything worth reading.

Hitch
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#53  Quoth 12-07-2019, 05:43 AM
Word count is supposed to be just the story text, not any copyright, series listings, other books, blurb, about the author, reviews, publishing history, contents list, headers or footer.
It may include the words "The End" if the book has them. Chapter titles, chapter preambles etc would be included, if they exist.

I'm not sure about notes, preface and an appendix.
A prologue is really chapter 1 by another name and epilogue the last chapter, so they are counted. We recommend against using those terms for the story before the main story and the story after the main story as it seems some people confuse preface and prologue and many think both can be skipped.
I do think a preface can be skipped and if added by the publisher to a later edition should always be read after the book as it's likely to have 3rd party opinion and spoilers.

LOTR is an example of a book where the notes / appendix maybe should be counted?
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#54  Pulpmeister 12-08-2019, 03:38 AM
All of the ones I gave were of text and table of contents only. Nothing else.
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#55  gmw 12-08-2019, 05:25 AM
Quote Pulpmeister
All of the ones I gave were of text and table of contents only. Nothing else.
And presumably rounded or truncated to even thousands - since it seems extremely unlikely they all ended at x000 words. Such rounding is likely to be more significant than the amount of (relevant) front matter and back matter present in the majority of cases.

Which only leaves argument over whether to count forewords, author notes and appendices (I would). There should be no argument about excluding previews of other books because the description "other books" seems pretty self-explanatory.

But my guess is that the above is mostly irrelevant to word-counts given by retailers like Kobo. I don't know for 100% certain, but it only make sense these are automatically generated, so in that case they will be counting what they find inside the file - previews, blurbs, ads, whatever.
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#56  Uncle Robin 12-08-2019, 05:31 AM
Quote FrustratedReader

LOTR is an example of a book where the notes / appendix maybe should be counted?
Speaking as one for whom they were the reason I read it 18 times from the age of 7, yes.
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