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So, how many pages are in a book?

This year for the first time I decided to keep track of how many pages were in the books I read. I never did before because I figured it wasn’t fair to include the index and didn’t want to go through the hassle of counting pages, subtracting index-like matter and adding in prefaces and the like.

In an effort to avoid that issue, I figured I would just use the number of pages Goodreads said a book had. Recently, though, I discovered that the number of pages in a book depends on the source. Here’s a handful of examples from the last several books I’ve read, all using the same edition of the particular book:

36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction

Amazon — 528 pages
Goodreads — 416 pages
OCLC WorldCat — 506 pages

The Eichmann Trial

Amazon — 272 pages
Goodreads — 256 pages
OCLC WorldCat — 237 pages

The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Amazon — 192 pages
Goodreads — 169 pages
OCLC WorldCat — 166 pages

The New New Rules

Amazon — 368 pages
Goodreads — 354 pages
OCLC WorldCat — 354 pages

Bossypants

Amazon — 288 pages
Goodreads — 277 pages
OCLC WorldCat — 277 pages

So, depending on the source, these five books have anywhere from 1,450 pages to 1,648 pages. As far as I can tell, only Goodreads defines how it arrives at page count. There, the number of pages in a book “is meant to include all content except for advertisements and preview chapters for other books.” It does not, however, include introductory material paged with roman numerals. (But what about table of contents or an index?) This would suggest Amazon includes any roman numeral pages but there still is little consistent agreement among the three sources.

So, does anybody out there know how to count the number of pages in a book?


I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done, so now I just have to fill in the rest.

Steven Wright

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