Text Density Comparison: Page Count vs. Character Count

For obvious reasons, the page count is most commonly used to indicate how long a book is. But even without considering different formats, it should be obvious that some books have much longer paragraphs and a higher text density than others. For example, light novels tend do be heavy on dialogues, meaning less text per site on average.

Because I was curious, I did the math for some of the digital books I own and divided the total # of characters by the page count (physical versions). Here are some of the results:

Book Pages # Chars per Page
貝に続く場所にて 162 93344 576
映画を作りながら考えたこと 391 198971 509
坊っちゃん 180 88887 494
人間失格 150 73280 489
世界の終りとハードボイルド・ワンダーランド 上 480 222617 464
精霊の守り人 350 152776 437
月の森に、カミよ眠れ 243 105440 434
鹿の王 1 290 125374 432
兎の眼 351 149982 427
博士の愛した数式 291 124325 427
走ることについて語るときに僕の語ること 272 116122 427
雪国 173 73753 426
獣の奏者 外伝 刹那 400 156844 392
物語ること、生きること 224 86470 386
カラフル 259 98903 382
夜のピクニック 455 172837 380
コーヒーが冷めないうちに 348 127543 367
推し、燃ゆ 144 52334 363
神さまたちの遊ぶ庭 325 115933 357
魔女の宅急便その6 407 141969 349
かあちゃんに会いたい 203 56890 280
俺の彼 221 61834 280
帰ってきたよ、ばあちゃん 197 52766 268
— — — —
Average 284 111628 392

As you can see, the difference between first and last place is huge, like, a 100 % difference. As expected, the more literary works occupy the top spots. #1 does not have a published bunkobon version (only hardcover), so 576 might be a bit misleading, but I’m sure it would still be near the top. 兎の眼, 精霊の守り人 and コーヒーが冷めないうちに are a bigger format and 推し、燃ゆ a smaller hardcover format. 魔女の宅急便その6 is slightly bigger, but has plenty of illustrations. All others are bunkobon versions.

Bunkobon pages have 16 columns with 38 characters each, so they can hold a maximum of 608 characters. The number may be significantly higher for hardcover or bigger paperback formats.

Oh, and 世界の終りとハードボイルド・ワンダーランド is not only incredibly long and dense – it’s also only the first half. Sasuga, Murakami.

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Interesting analysis, thanks for sharing!

Is that a standard? I picked up two books from my shelf and one had 16(コンビニ人間) columns and the second one had 17 columns(氷菓) per page. Both of them labelled as 文庫.

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Oh right, I just checked and found 3 different numbers in books from 3 different publishers.

17x38
16x38
15x37

Maybe it differs from publisher to publisher or title to title?

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