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Picture books are obviously an integral tool for young children to learn and develop properly. But do you know how long these books should actually be?
This information is helpful to know whether you’re an aspiring children’s book author trying to decide on the number of pages to go with, or simply a parent looking to buy an appropriate book for your child.
To get the answer to this question, we have researched over 3000 picture books sold on Amazon (including board books). In addition to analyzing the number of pages, we also looked through the prices, weights and dimensions.
Also, we have researched the number of words per book using a selected number of picture books. That data is very useful for new book authors.
In our comprehensive research, the children’s books were divided into two main categories:
- board books (intended mostly for 3 years and younger)
- picture books (geared mostly towards 3-8 years old)
Kindly note that picture books can be either hardcover or paperback.
Following are the research results.
Length of Picture Books
|Book Type||Length (most popular)||Other Popular Lengths|
|Board books||12 & 24 pages||(10, 26, 32) pages|
|Picture books||32 pages||(24, 40) pages|
The most popular length for board books is 12 and 24 pages, which account for almost 30% of all board books. On the other hand, the most common length for picture books is hands down 32 pages, which applies to about 43% of all picture books.
An interesting observation to note is that the length for the most popular picture books is always a multiple of 8 pages. But for board books, the length is only a multiple of 2 pages.
Size of Picture Books
|Book Type||Size (most popular)||Other Popular Sizes|
|Board books||7×7″||6×6″, 6.5×6.5″, 7.5×7.5″|
|Picture books||8×8″||6.5×8″, 8.5×11″, 10×10″|
The most popular six sizes of board books (40%) are all unsurprisingly square-shaped with the length between 6-7.5 inches. About a third of picture books (34%) are sized 8×8″, 6.5×8″, 8.5×11″ or 10×10″.
Number of Words in Picture Books
|Book Type||# Words (average)||# Words (range)|
|Board books||240 words||50-500 words|
|Picture books||471 words||150-1,200 words|
Around seven out of ten board books (70%) contain a total of 100-350 words. On the other hand, about 72% of picture books include between 200-600 words total.
Words per Page in Picture Books
|Book Type||# Words Per Page (average)||# Words Per Page (range)|
|Board books||10 w/page||3-17 w/page|
|Picture books||16 w/page||4-39 w/page|
About three quarters of board books (75%) have 3-13 words per page. For the majority of picture books (77%), there are 6-20 words per page.
Price and Weight of Picture Books
|Book Type||Price (average)||Weight (average)|
|Board books||$9.2||12 oz|
|Hardcover picture books||$12.6||14 oz|
|Paperback picture books||$8.8||6 oz|
As indicated above, hardcover picture books generally cost more (and weigh more) than the others. Board books and paperback picture books have almost the same price on average.
We researched over 3000 of the most popular picture books on Amazon including at least 1000 board books. That included books with at a rating of 4+ and the results were sorted by the number of reviews. The analysis involved the book’s size, number of pages, price, and weight.
For finding the number of words, we selected a sample of 20 picture books and another 20 board books. The procedure was simply to count the words in each book on the content pages (i.e. excludes pages like the cover, title page and copyright page).
There you have it, how long picture books should be based on our online research.
To recap, most board books are either 12 or 24 pages while most picture books are 32 pages (which is essentially the industry standard).
In order to help authors find the right number of words for their picture book, we have developed this online calculator. You just need to enter the book’s type (board/picture) and the number of pages, then you will get the answer. Be sure to check it out.
Lastly, we have created the below infographic that visually summarizes the research results.