top of page
  • Monica Red

How far have you read?

We often hear how books take us to other worlds, times and places. But can we measure the distance that we read? Maybe.


Although it would be cool to see how far away is Middle Earth, or how long a trip to The Wall would be, being fictional settings makes it impossible. However, we could use a unique method to check out our distance traveled through books.

Each word we read uses an area on a paper or screen, as a space it can be measured. If we count all the words we have read, we could get a measurement of their length.

To do this, I came up with an unreliable formula.

There are many variables involved here that make it impossible to be precise. The size of the page, font style and size, number of characters by word, spaces, etc. You name it! Nevertheless, for the fun of it, if you follow this formula, you will get an idea of the distance you “travel” by reading.

Many studies have been done to calculate the average number of words per page. Editors, writers, academics, etc., all present a different idea. For the purpose of this calculation, we will use the study based on Kindle writers, where over 900 authors sent their information. As a result, we'll consider 230 words per page for non-fiction and 280 for novels.

The English language has an average of 4.7 characters per word. I based this on research done about speed reading and typing. For our formula we will use 5 characters length, this will compensate for the spaces and the shorter or longer words.

After using my trustworthy ruler, I found out that depending on the use of capital letters, five character words measured between 11mm to 13mm, so let’s use the middle point, 12mm.

Most books you read are either in print, which won’t tell you the word count, or electronic versions which, in most cases, won’t give you this information either. Because of this, we will use the page count of books.

Do not fear, if you are using e-books, in the information section where you purchased it, you can find the number of pages. If for any reason it isn’t there, most books can be found in kindle from amazon. Just look for the book title, scroll down to the information section, usually after books suggestions and before reviews, and you will find it there.

Let’s see how far a page will take us.

For non-fiction:

230 words by 1.2cm will take you 2.76meters or 9.055feet


280 words by 1.2 cm will take you 3.36m or 11.02feet

and… here is our magic formula:

Pages x length= Travel distance

Number of pages (fiction or nonfiction) multiply by the distance (fiction or non-fiction) equals how far that book took you.

For example:

Saber, Roots of Hope has 254pages, so Hune is

254pages x 3.36m=853.44m or 2800 feet

Think about it, if you read 10 books, around the same 250 pages you would have to “travel”, 8,400 meters or 5.22 miles!

I know, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you keep adding your books, you will get an amazing number and you can see how close to Hogwarts or the seven kingdoms you really are! And you can make a great challenge.

My challenge this year is to read 20 miles! Hopefully more!

Now it is your turn to figure this out. How far have you gone reading? And how far will you want to travel-reading the rest of the year?


bottom of page