Not meaning to single out any one example, though there are countless, it feels like books are longer now, by far, than necessary.
It may be that attention spans have shortened, this is true, but that would more than likely cause someone to leave the book unread after a few minutes.
Which is not the case… in this discussion anyway.
Based on a survey of one, a limited sample, you see the thing online or on a shelf, you make the purchase, you’re excited, and the delivery is fast enough, online or off, that the mood hasn’t dissipated by the time you turn to the first chapter; you charge enthusiastically ahead for 100 pages or so, maybe more, then for the next 100, maybe, often less, enthusiasm fades, you seek for reason to keep going, find it every so often, here and there, until a point is reached where, truth be told, you go straight to the afterword, or to the summary online, to see how the damn thing ends already.
This isn’t genre based, it’s indiscriminate, and according to the survey applies to even the most prized and honored output.
One way to interpret this limited data set is as a victim to the business model…
To justify the price tag, even after discount (which is always an incentive), the product requires weight… the customer can’t feel as though the money’s spent on a long article or a slight novella… the customer should hear the sound of a convincing thump when dropping the brick-shaped object.
You feel as though you got your money’s worth… and lesson learned.
Then you go back to the ancients, or to the modern few who care(d) about economy and word inflation, or to a song that never gets tired.
“I’m not afraid of heights,” somebody once said to a large conference gathering, “widths though kind of get to me.”