How long to read that book?

A new online database is offering a service that estimates how long it will take a reader to complete a book. They have twelve million titles in their vaults, so you should find the book that interests you. It’s possible to tailor the reading speed per minute rate, should yours be different from their average of 300 words.

I find this intriguing and a bit worrying. Given that there’s been a reported trend towards people reading bite-size chunks of stories on their smartphones, and that short stories and novellas are proving more popular, where does that leave novels? Will readers look at how long a book will take to consume, discounting it should the estimate be too long?

Too long; didn’t read is increasingly seen as an abbreviation TL;DR

I anticipate that it will come about that publishers start to print the probable reading time on the cover, in the same way, that CDs and DVDs have a running time. I’m being whimsical here, but perhaps the information could morph into nutritional content as well:

‘A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens contains valuable lessons about charity, sharing, benevolence and conquering regret; parental warning: contains ghosts, so may be unsuitable for young children.’

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