Authors who want to sell their e-books through the Kindle store have a common question: what’s the average size of a Kindle e-book? Maybe you’re talking about the size of the files you submit to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Or maybe you’re concerned about meeting reader expectations for the page count of your book.
The average Kindle book size is about 300 pages, or 75,000 words of text, and the average Kindle e-book file size is 2.6 MB. But that’s not exactly a one-size-fits-all answer. The size of your Kindle book will depend on the genre you write in and how many words (or images!) you need to achieve your vision. Let’s figure out what size your Kindle book should be.
For starters, let’s clear something up: though having a book that’s too long can challenge readers’ attention spans, the size of your Kindle book file isn’t much of an issue. Take the 8 gigabyte (GB) Kindle Fire, which has 6 GB of available space to store e-books. This Kindle device can hold 6,000 books if each e-book file is 1 megabyte (MB). Of course, larger books take up more space than 1 MB. But suffice it to say that you probably don’t have to worry about your finished e-book being too big for readers to download.
That said, if you’re writing a very long book or one with lots of images, audio, or video, you might need to consider whether your book file exceeds KDP requirements.
According to Amazon, Kindle supports file sizes up to 650 MB or 8,000 pages. Most authors don’t come anywhere close to exceeding this maximum page count.
But remember that images, audio, and video take up much more data space than text. For most e-books, images comprise the largest element. For example, a single high-resolution image size can be around 3.5 MB.
For your book cover, Amazon recommends a file size of 40 MB or less. That said, the 650 MB maximum file size applies to your book cover too. Either way, take care when choosing your cover image.
Kindle cannot convert e-book files larger than 650 MB. If your book is over 650 MB, Kindle advises reducing your audio and video content, if applicable. You could also consider publishing your book as a series.
You shouldn’t have to worry about how long your finished Kindle e-book will take to download. The KDP process optimizes your content, so even a long book will download quickly.
Amazon does not set a lower limit when it comes to book length. A short book can satisfy readers as effectively as a long one. In fact, many readers love Kindle Short Reads, which take as little as fifteen minutes to enjoy.
That said, a recommended minimum is 2,500 words. That’s the length of a short-short story. And you’ll want to meet readers’ expectations for your genre. More on that in a bit!
Typical word count for any book, whether it’s an e-book or print book, depends on the genre. According to Book Cave, the average nonfiction book runs between 50,000 and 75,000 words. That adds up to about 153 to 230 e-book pages. For fiction, the average book tends to be longer, at 80,000 to 100,000 words. That runs to about 246 to 307 e-book pages.
A children’s book should be shorter than a book aimed at adult readers. The size depends on the child’s age.
According to Writing World, books for very young children usually reach no more than 1,000 words. For readers at this age, illustrations take center stage.
Books for elementary readers run up to about 2,500 words. They often have some illustrations, but as children get older, these become less central to telling the story.
Middle schoolers have far longer attention spans and stronger reading skills. They can typically handle up to 12,000 words or so. A fiction book for this age group might not have any pictures at all, although a nonfiction book might have fewer words and more illustrations.
By the time children reach adolescence, they are ready for longer books. They’re interested in stories with delightfully tangled plots and complex characters. A young adult novel might run 35,000 to 50,000 words long–around the size of an adult novella.
Readers’ expectations for the size of a Kindle e-book depend on the genre and their reasons for buying the book.
Nonfiction books are typically shorter than fiction books, averaging 50,000 to 75,000 words. Readers don’t usually curl up by the fire to read a cookbook or scientific textbook the way they would a novel. They read nonfiction books for the information and ideas they contain. As long as the facts and concepts are clear, a short book could be as good as a longer one.
That doesn’t mean all nonfiction books are short. If you’re covering a long period of history, writing an in-depth political treatise, or telling a particularly compelling life story, you’ll need more space. On the other hand, if you’re writing a how-to guide on a relatively straightforward topic, brevity is your friend.
Novels are different. Book lovers read fiction to immerse themselves in a narrative—or even a new world. So it’s no surprise the average fiction book runs 80,000–100,000 words. Unless the book is advertised as a novella, an eager book reader might be disappointed if it turns out to be shorter than expected. It takes a certain amount of words for a writer to develop the layered plots and complex characters that make novels so immersive.
Can a very short novel or novella still tell a gripping story that transports readers? It sure can! But don’t forget to consider that the size of your Kindle e-book can impact what readers are willing to pay. While you could charge as much as $9.99 for a full-length novel, Book Cave claims that novellas priced higher than $2.99 tend to garner negative reviews.
Why? Because most Kindle users don’t check the word count before making an e-book purchase. If the book proves shorter than expected, readers may feel cheated. Again, that’s often less true for nonfiction books like how-to guides. Since readers see these books as information resources, size isn’t as important. Understanding these nuances is key to marketing your book to the right audience—and ensuring it meets their expectations for length and cost.
Word count usually doesn’t matter for poetry. After all, poems are meant to be read slowly and savored. One poem might have dozens of stanzas. Another might feature ten words and a lot of white space.
So it’s best to measure your poetry collection in pages rather than words. According to Writer’s Relief, a typical poetry collection might be as short as forty-eight pages or as long as ninety-six pages. Many poets publish their poems in the form of a chapbook—a much shorter collection with as few as twenty-four pages.
Another type of e-book becoming more popular by the day is the graphic novel. According to the Author Learning Center, these can be anywhere from forty-eight to five hundred pages long. Graphic novels usually run far longer than comic books.
Of course, the size of a graphic novel depends on how many pages—or frames—you need to tell the story. But unlike with a regular novel, you might have to consider file size when formatting your graphic novel as a Kindle e-book. Because images take up a lot of space, you’ll need to take care not to exceed the 650 MB maximum.
Remember the story of Goldilocks? Keep it in mind when you think about the right size for your Kindle book: not too short, not too long, but just right. Your readers will appreciate that you took the time to edit your book to the size it needs to be. Most importantly, they’ll appreciate your well-crafted story, compelling argument, or page-turning biography. When your book’s that good, who’s counting words?
But we’ll help you find the right size for your book. Elite Authors is a comprehensive editing agency that offers a full suite of publishing services—everything you need to go from fledgling writer to published author—in one place. Whether you’ve just finished a book or you’re about to start one, we can ensure your manuscript is Kindle ready. Learn more about our services.