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Bestselling Books Are Getting Longer, Study Finds

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iStock

Good news for fans of long, immersive literature: According to a recent survey by Vervesearch on behalf of interactive publisher Flipsnack, bestselling books are getting longer. Vervesearch chose 2515 books from The New York Times bestseller and notable books lists and Google’s annual survey of most-discussed books, and found that, on average, page length has increased by 25 percent over the last 15 years, growing from around 320 pages in 1999 to 400 in 2014.

It’s a fascinating finding, though its implications are unclear. Some believe the shift from print copies to digital e-readers has encouraged readers to pick up longer books. James Finlayson from Vervesearch told The Guardian that he believes seeing a large book in a bookshop can be intimidating to casual readers, whereas “on Amazon the size of a book is just a footnote that you don’t really pay all that much attention to.”

But according to The Guardian, some of the most popular e-book genres, such as romance and crime, produce the shortest books. In contrast to Finlayson's theory, Granta editor Max Porter believes that the popularity of long books has its roots in a cultural, rather than technological, shift. As he explained it to The Guardian, “The novel has come into its own novel-ness. There so many demands on our attention, so many competing forms, that these novels have decided to relish being big and long, to demand that you sit in a chair, turn off your phone and devote some time to them.”

Further research is likely needed to pinpoint why books are getting longer. For now, readers can form their own theories—or just jump into one of the long, excellent novels on the current New York Times bestsellers list.

[h/t: The Guardian]

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TASCHEN
Everything You Need to Know About Food in One Book
TASCHEN
TASCHEN

If you find yourself mixing up nigiri and sashimi at sushi restaurants or don’t know which fruits are in season, then this is the book for you. Food & Drink Infographics, published by TASCHEN, is a colorful and comprehensive guide to all things food and drink.

The book combines tips and tricks with historical context about the ways in which different civilizations illustrated and documented the foods they ate, as well as how humans went from hunter-gatherers to modern-day epicureans. As for the infographics, there’s a helpful graphic explaining the number of servings provided by different cake sizes, a heat index of various chilies, a chart of cheeses, and a guide to Italian cold cuts, among other delectable charts.

The 480-page coffee table book, which can be purchased on Amazon for $56, is written in three languages: English, French, and German. The infographics themselves come from various sources, and the text is provided by Simone Klabin, a New York City-based writer and lecturer on film, art, culture, and children’s media.

Keep scrolling to see a few of the infographics featured in the book.

An infographic about cheese
TASCHEN

An infographic about cakes
Courtesy of TASCHEN

An infographic about fruits in season
Courtesy of TASCHEN
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YouTube/Great Big Story
See the Secret Paintings Hidden in Gilded Books
YouTube/Great Big Story
YouTube/Great Big Story

The art of vanishing fore-edge painting—hiding delicate images on the front edges of gilded books—dates back to about 1660. Today, British artist Martin Frost is the last remaining commercial fore-edge painter in the world. He works primarily on antique books, crafting scenes from nature, domestic life, mythology, and Harry Potter. Great Big Story recently caught up with him in his studio to learn more about his disappearing art. Learn more in the video below.

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