Saturday, 4 February 2012

Through Thick or Thin

Mass market paperbacks today are thick. In the early days they were thin.

The current (February 12, 2012) NY Times mass market best seller list with the page count:

Bonnie                                       Iris Johansen                         384
The Girl Who Played With Fire       Steig Larsson                         752
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo    Steig Larsson                         672
A Lady Never Surrenders               Sabrina Jeffries                      416
One For the Money                      Janet Evanovich                      352
The Jefferson Key                       Steve Berry                             592
Tom Clancy's Act of Valor             Dick Couch + George Galdorisi   336
Smokin' Seventeen                      Janet Evanovich                      336
You…Again                                 Debbie Macomber                    384
A Game of Thrones                     George R.R. Martin                   831

The median page count is 400.

Compare this to the 906 titles that Harlequin Books and Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada (White Circle) published between 1942 and 1959. Not a single one is 400 pages. In fact only 2% (14 Harlequins and three White Circles) just about equal, at 320 pages, the two shortest books on the NY Time's list. Both companies worked hard at keeping books under 320 pages through cuts to the text.

Here is a current mass market paperback (at 542 pages) and one each 320 page Harlequin and White Circle.

Pocket Star - February 2012

White Circle 210 - 1944

Harlequin 217 - February 1953

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