Friday, April 20, 2012

Novel or Novella

While loading up my Kindle today (yes, I refuel the Kindle more often than my car), I noticed that most of the books catching my eye weren't novels. They were novellas. Naturally, I mentioned this to my husband, who is the person who buys the second most books on the planet, but in different genres.

"How long were the last few books you bought?" ask I.

"I don't know.  I can't tell.  Kindle doesn't give page numbers, just a percent.  I hate that.  But they weren't very long.  A week on the subway."

Subway length, okay.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo took him three weeks.  So I got the titles . . . and sure enough, seven out of ten were novellas.

And then we talked about why we bought novellas, instead of novels.  And the results:

  • We had no clue what length of book we were buying. (This is important.)
  • We bought books that sounded "interesting" and fit our genre preferences.  Only I ventured out of my comfort zone and that was because I had heard the author was good.
  • I would buy a book for the art (if I could, but my Kindle doesn't show the art, or if it does I have yet to figure it out).  He wouldn't.
  • Two of his books were free.  He went back and paid for two more books by one of the authors, but the price point was low ($2.99).
  • One of the books I bought was free and I regretted buying it. I paid as much as $6.99 for one book, the novel by the author someone recommended (turns out it's really good!).
  • He won't look at books priced higher than $5.99.
  • I will look at, but not buy, e-books priced higher than $8.99.

In sum, the reason we ended up buying novellas was mostly because they didn't cost over our price points, so we looked at them.

Anyway, now that I have scratched my analytic imp for the month, back to writing!


  1. Novellas seem to be the hot thing going right now, you know?


    1. It makes sense. If short stories are bite-sized reading, novellas are a nice snack. :) I was surprised to find out that was what I was mostly buying, though. I'm also finding that I prefer novel-length works, especially long novels, in paperback.

  2. I hate buying anything under 300 pages in an actual book. For ebooks it varies. It depends on the author, genre, length, and price. I don't buy anything under 20k for more than $1.99 though. I can't believe it when I see ebooks under 10k for $3.99 or so. *shakes head*

    I prefer novels to read at all times though, for me, more is more! :P OH, and I enjoy buying books on All Romance ebooks, they offer a buy ten get one free, so those $7.00 plus books aren't quite such a hit to the budget. I just wish list them until I get a promo code. They also have a lot of free book promotions.

    Now, as for viewing your ebook covers, the Kindle Fire lets you sort and view ebooks with cover art but the older versions have the list style for showing your books by title. You can view the covers of most books though. I download most of my book in epub, then convert in Calibre and add them to my kindle. When I have a hard time remembering the book I simply click the right arrow on the small nav square when the title is highlighted. That brings up a variety of options and a small image of the book cover. It's not as nice as seeing the books in a thumbnail form, and it is in black and white. I'm pretty sure sending books via Amazon would let you see the same thing. I don't think that would be enough, though, for me to purchase an ebook for the cover art.

    1. I'm so old-fashioned, I still think of books in terms of pages. Not for writing, where I count words. But not every site gives either pages or word count. Amazon gives files size, so I guess I'll have to start thinking of books in terms of file size.

      Like you, I can't see paying book price for what's basically a long short story. I think that's why I've settled into novellas: low price and enough bang for my money.

      Thanks for the tips on viewing cover art! I love cover art and have missed it on my Kindle, which is black and white anyway. My next reader will have color, you can bet on it. :) I have purchased books not for the cover art, but at least in part because of it. Yeah, I'm easily tempted by shiny objects.