• Jacob Turk

How Many Books Can You Read in a Year?

Have you ever wondered the answer to that question? Well, finding out is really simple! Just read this blog post and follow the five-step process to find out how many books you can expect to finish within the next year of reading. 3/14/19.

Do you have that friend who seems to be tearing through four books a week when you’ve been stuck on the same one for almost a month?

It gets you thinking: How is she reading so fast? How much time does she spend reading per day? How much time would I have to spend reading to start catching up?

If that doesn’t sound familiar, then maybe you’re the friend who’s blasting through books.

Either way, up to a million books are published every year, and no human----not even the fastest speed-reader in the world----could read every single work of literature. So, how many books could you conceivably read in your lifetime? What about within a year?

As a reader, it’s nice to have a handle on a few basic pieces of information: your reading speed, how long it takes you to finish a book, and, as an estimate, what your yearly kill-count of books is. This article will answer all those questions. Here’s a (relatively) simple five-step process you can use to figure out how many books you could take down over the course of a year of reading:

Step 1: Calculate Your Reading Speed

The first step in calculating how many books you’ll read in a year is figuring out your reading speed.

Reading speed is calculated by reading a passage of average difficulty for a specific length of time and keeping track of how many words you read in that time. Reading speed is typically measured in words per minute, so testing yourself for exactly a minute is the best bet. You can either perform the test yourself with a book and a stopwatch or use an online reading-speed test (there are plenty). Make sure not to read too fast to get a “better score,” or else the result won’t be realistic.

The average reading speed is around 250 words per minute, so we’ll use that figure for the example.

Step 2: Find the Average Word Count of a Book

Once you’ve calculated your reading speed, the next piece of information you’ll need is the average word count of a book.

According to Google, around 100,000 words is a good rough estimate for the average word count.

Of course, if you know all the books you’re planning to read, a quick internet search should yield the exact word count for each book you own. At that point, I’d recommend averaging the word count of each book by adding up each individual word count and dividing by the number of books you have.

For example, if I have three books, one with 69,956 words, one with 89,110 words, and one with 110,472 words, then my average word count is:

(69,956 + 89,110 + 110,472)/3 = 89,846 words per book

Now, even if you don’t have a year’s worth of books to use for your average word count, book size varies from author to author and genre to genre. In addition, some readers are happier to consistently read longer novels, and others enjoy reading shorter books. As a result, be sure to adjust the 100,000 either up or down based on the size of the books you read for the most accurate estimation.

Step 3: Find the Time it Takes to Read One Book

Now that you have your reading speed (250 words per minute, for example) and your average word count per book (100,000, for example), the next step is to figure out how long it takes you to read a single book.

To calculate this, just divide the average word count by your reading speed:

100,000/250 = 400

That’s how many minutes it will take you to finish one book, on average. Having a value in minutes isn’t very helpful, so we’ll convert to hours by dividing by 60 (because there are 60 minutes in an hour, of course).

400/60 = 6.67 hours

So, someone who reads a 100,000-word book at a speed of 250 words per minute will finish the book in 6 2/3 hours.

If you were wondering, it’s perfectly reasonable to set aside one full evening to marathon an entire book----a great excuse to avoid attending that house party your friends have been pestering you to go to.

Step 4: Calculate Your Reading Frequency

Now that you know how long it takes you to read one book, the next information to hunt for is how often you’ll read.

Some people read for two hours a day and others read for two hours a week. For this step, try your best to guess how many hours you’ll spend reading per week. Once you have that figure, multiply it by 52 to find out how many hours you’ll read in a whole year.

For example, I make it a point to read for an hour a day. That means I read for 7 hours each week, or 7 x 52 = 364 hours each year. Well, 365, I guess.

Therefore, my reading frequency is 365 hours per year.

Step 5: Calculate the Answer!

The final step towards figuring out how many books you can read in a year is to divide your reading frequency by the time it takes you to finish a single book.

I know that it’ll take me 6.67 hours to finish the average book and that I’ll spend 365 hours reading over the course of the next year.

365/6.67 = 54.7

So, throughout the next year, I’ll be able to read approximately 55 books!

Useless information? Quite possibly. Cool information? Almost certainly.

You now have a basis of comparison to other readers and how frequently they’re finishing books. This will also help prevent you from going overboard when shopping at bookstores. If this whole process reveals that you’ll only end up reading six books a year, then buying twenty books at Indigo might be a mistake.

Also, if you found out your answer and are realizing that you own way more books than you’ll ever read at your current pace, perhaps read more often. You can always repeat this process but plug your new reading goal into step 3 to see if you’ll be reading often enough to polish off your current library.

Now, it’s time for you to start working toward your yearly number! Those books won’t read themselves!

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