The average length of a book: by age, reach and genre (2023)

Stellen Sie vor dem Schreiben und Veröffentlichen eines Buches sicher, dass Sie die durchschnittliche Länge eines Buches in Ihrem gewählten Genre kennen.

When a reader picks up a book, they expect the approximate length of that book. Word count affects a book's audience, which publishers show interest in it, and how much you can charge for it.

So what is the average length of a book? That's a wide range, but the average novel aimed at adult readers is around 90,000 words, with the range being between 80,000 and 110,000. For non-fiction books, the average is slightly lower at 50,000 to 80,000 words. However, some indie authors publish shorter, more specific non-fiction books of around 30,000 words.

Honestly though, the answer depends on the genre of book you are writing or reading. You can calculate book length using either an average word count or an average page count, and this guide will help you determine the appropriate length for a book you are writing.


  • The average length of a book depends on the genre
  • Average length for adult fiction books
  • Average length for children's books
  • Average length for non-fiction books
  • Is WordCountMatter?
  • A final word on the average length of a book
  • Frequently asked questions about the average length of a book
  • Author

The average length of a book depends on the genre

The average length of a book: by age, reach and genre (1)

If you're considering writing a book or short story, you need to know the average word count before you begin. This knowledge will help guide your story arc, making sure you get the beginning, middle, and end in the right places.

To determine the format and length of a book, you must first look at the genre. Children's books are a very different length from novellas and full-length novels.

To keep things consistent, this guide will cover the average word count and not the page count. Many factors affect the number of pages in the book, most notably its formatting and the presence of illustrations, so the word count is a better benchmark. You can also count words as you compose your document, and the page number of the finished work may change depending on the publisher's formatting.

Learn more about theTypes of genres for books.

Average length for adult fiction books

If you write fiction, here is the average length you can expect based on the type of fiction book you are writing.

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1. Adult novels

Novel lengths typically range from 50,000 to 110,000 words. The industry supports longer works, especially by established and trusted authors, but this is a good average range. Remember that even with novels, genre affects length.

2.Flash FictionStories

Flash fiction works are short stories that convey universal truths or emotions. The average length of these works is between 300 and 1500 words.

3. Short story

Agreat short storyis slightly longer than aflash fictionpiece. Aim for between 1,500 and 30,000 words for a story or book that falls into this genre.

4. The short story

Novels are shorter books, often published as sequels or prequels to popular books. They often provide a character's backstory in the main story arc. The average length is between 30,000 and 50,000 words.

5. Romance novels

The average length of a book: by age, reach and genre (3)

Romance novels include both mainstream romance and subgenre romance. These average between 40,000 and 100,000 words, with subgenre novels being slightly shorter.

6. Science-Fiction und Fantasy-Romane

The fantasy and sci-fi novels tend to be a bit longer than other types of novels, allowing the author to create the fantasy or sci-fi world. Aim for 90,000 to 120,000 words for this genre.

7.Historical fiction

If you write historical fiction, you'll find that the average reach is within the average word count for novels. TheThe best historical novelsbe between 80,000 and 100,000 words.

8. Horror, mystery, crime and thriller novels

Although there are exceptions, the horror and mystery genres tend to be shorter adult novels. Traditional publications aim for 70,000 to 90,000 words for this genre. Because they're fast-moving and action-packed, they don't have that long a word count. TheThe best crime writersfollow a similar approach.

9. Books for young adults

YA novelists often target adult readers. The ideal point for the word length of these books is 50,000 to 80,000 words. Interestingly, many YA authors end up with larger word counts in their sequels after gaining some following among their target readers.

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Average length for children's books

Children have limited vocabulary and cannot read books as long as their adult counterparts. Here are some standards of the children's literature publishing industry, based on age level.

10.Picture books

Though often read aloud, picture books are a standard industry length. They are typically between 300 and 800 words, with plenty of illustrations to help tell the story.

11. Books for early readers

Early or Easy Reader books are for young, new readers. They have a minimum vocabulary commensurate with reading level and vary from 200 words to 3,500 words, with the number of words increasing as reading level increases.

12. Early chapter books

After basic reading, most children move on to chapter books. These still have a limited vocabulary to accommodate their reading level. The average length is between 4,000 and 10,000 words, again depending on the reading level.

13. Middle class books

The middle grades, grades six through eight, need longer books but limited vocabulary. The best word count for this age group is between 25,000 and 40,000 words.

Average length for non-fiction books

Non-fiction books can follow similar guidelines as age-group specific books. However, for books that reach adults, there are certain word counts that the publishing industry considers standard. The type of book also affects the word count in non-fiction.

14. Standard non-fiction books

Unless a non-fiction book is a self-help or biography or memoir, it's in a fairly narrow range of 70,000 to 80,000 words. This type of books includes political works, economics books, science books, and similar non-fiction books.

15. Memory Books

Amemoirsis a person's autobiographical account of something that happened in their own life. It may not be a complete biographical account, but it does cover something that the author experienced. The average length for this type of fiction is 80,000 to 200,000 words.

16. The biography

A biography is a book with a wide potential reach depending on the details in the subject's life. The average reach for this is 80,000 to 200,000 words.

17. Self-help books

A self-help book provides instructions on how to do something. It can be personal growth or physical activity, like learning how to make a craft. The average length for this is 40,000 to 50,000 words.

Is WordCountMatter?

The word counts for books is a fluid thing, but it does matter. Readers expect how long a book will be, and most publishers look for the books they publish to hit the sweet spot for their readers.

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However, there are exceptions. For example, the first book in the Harry Potter series was perfect for young adult readers76,944 words. As the series progresses, the books get longer and longer, and book five, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, topped the list at 257,045 words.

Since the series was a New York Times bestseller, the number of words didn't matter. The books flew off the shelf. However, most authors must adhere to the counter-recommendations, especially if they are planning to publish a book for the first time.

A final word on the average length of a book

The average length of a book depends on the subject, age range, and type of book you choose. Fiction is usually longer than non-fiction, but even in these general terms, word count varies.

Word counting matters in the publishing world because publishers need to release books that resonate with their audiences. As such, they look for books that fall within a certain range based on genre.

If you're hoping to become a published author, sticking to word count ranges helps.

want more? Check out our guidehow to write a book.

Frequently asked questions about the average length of a book

How long should a non-fiction book be?

A classic non-fiction book usually has between 70,000 and 80,000 words. Other types of nonfiction, like biographies, can be even longer, with upper limits of around 200,000 words.

How long should a non-fiction book be?

The average length of a fiction book depends on the age of the audience and the type of book. For example, picture books can be up to 300 words, while a sci-fi novel can have a cap of around 120,000 words.

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  • The average length of a book: by age, reach and genre (4)

    Nicole h.

    Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in educational content and real estate writing, but enjoys a wide range of subjects. Your goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging but informative way. Her work has been featured in USA Today and she ghostwrites for many high profile companies. A former teacher, she is passionate about research and grammar, providing her clients with the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.

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