The minimum length that you could theoritically produce is 1 page, but whether people would think it worth the effort of downloading is another question.
Personally I have seen some great E-Books that are really short. It all depends on what's inside.
this is also a question of personal opinion...and other peoples may differ
For a free E-Book, a few pages would usually be a reasonable minimum, but go larger if you want. Sometimes I have seen really short free E-Books that are really good anyway as the information inside is invaluable.
For an E-Book that is being sold, then I think the length needs to "feel" worth the price. Again this is subjective. For example, my E-Book on pay-per-click advertising (http://www.marketingrocket.com/buytraffic.html) is about 35,000 words, and sells for $20. Some people have said it's really long. But one person said it's too short! Which hopefully means I am about the right length. Also in this case, you need to make sure that the sales letter doesn't oversell a really short E-Book.
One last question is the number of words per page. For E-Books that are read on screen, for example cos they have tons of Internet links, made with an HTML compiler like Activ E-Book Compiler, then I think it is okay to keep to fairly short pages (say 500 words or less average with plenty of spacing too!) as this enhances readability, and some people, including me, actually prefer short pages.
Anyway I'd personally be interested to hear other's opinions too...
(Edited by EBookCompiler at 8:10 pm on Feb. 5, 2001)
You'll see a lot of ebook ads proclaiming things like "824 pages!" or "362 pages!"
Want to know a secret?? The number of pages doesn't mean squat!
Whether HTML or PDF there are tons of ways to manipulate how many pages are in an ebook.
Want more pages? Try changing the page size, increasing the margins, adding more space between paragraphs, increasing the font size, adding more graphics, changing the format....shall I go on?? (Conversely, if you want fewer pages, you do just the opposite! Reduce the margins, decrease space between paragraphs, etc.)
For some reason, people equate the number of pages with value - and, while in some instances that may be true, it's certainly not true in all cases.
Your ebook should be as many pages as it takes to say what you want to say - without filler and without fluff. My ebook is just over 100 pages, far shorter than many, but it says what it needs to say, and there's no filler or fluff in it.
Don't worry about the number of pages - worry about the CONTENT!!
I suggest using the word count when talking about the length of an ebook, the way we do in paper publishing. All editors are familiar with the standard minimum length for a normal-sized novel: 50-60,000 words. Why not talk about ebook size the same way? Citing file size isn't much use, since some formats take way more K than others. As soon as we get some titles up there, I think I'll start doing it this way and see if anyone else jumps on the bandwagon.
Personally, I try to keep them a normal page length, which, to me, is an 8x11 piece of paper. Any longer, and the reader could get bored or agitated since we all are accustomed to turning pages of a book or newspaper. On the web, you still need to turn a page by creating a link to open a new one. I would suggest including a Table of Contents that is linked so the reader can always skip to a particular section when they want to. The reader will determine if your ebook content is to their liking, but you can at least make it easy for them to read. I agree with Neil about including graphics and to concentrate on the content. Some readers, like myself, would rather look at the pictures rather than read. Why? A picture can describe to me what a paragraph can describe to another. They are both the same, but you please both types of readers. Hope this helps!
I've written plenty of eBooks, the shortest of them being only 11 pages... however the final size was anything but little. Finalized at just a bit over 1MB in size, this book covered "How To Format Article Content" and is still being download over 30 times a week.
So... back to your original question. How long should an eBook really be?
Well . . . in my humble opinion:
You write for the eBook for as long as it takes to cover your subject matter sufficiently and completely.
I agree-- write as many words as it takes to tell the story or explan the service, product, or whatever.
I write novels, but word count overall isn't my concern. Compiling my own books lets me be as long or short as I want or need to be. That's why I chose to do this-- I'm in control of my work.
To make it easier on myself in coding them, I've finally arrived at the five pages per chapter form. This way I know exactly on what page a new chapter will start. Makes it easier to set up my table of contents page.
I have bought e-novels from other publishers where the entire story seems to be all on one page. That doesn't bother me. I really am more interested in the story-- not whether I have to "turn" pages.
However, knowing others might not feel the same way, I've put in page transitions in my books to, more or less, give the effect of a turning page. Those I've tested it out with think it's pretty nifty, so I'm going to go with that.
It depends entirely upon the author and style of book. The best thing about ebooks is that many of the factors that pushed out smaller forms in print is no longer a problem.
For example a guide that solves a specific problem in 20 pages - can be sold at a premium price (as long as it really solves the problem ). In print you'd probably find this about 200 pages of which 180 were fluff. I hate paying for fluff.
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