Suggested Reading Times on Books – Yay or Nay?

Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, did something fairly unique with his first book, “Without Their Permission” by including a “suggesting reading time” logo on the back cover.  This logo estimates the book would take about five hours to read and that this is the equivalent of a cross-country flight from New York to San Francisco.

A writer for Flavorwire is not impressed, pointing out that everyone has a different reading speed, that some books are denser than others, and that you can’t win – if you’re a slow reader, you’ll feel guilty and if you’re a fast reader, you’ll feel like you didn’t get your money’s worth.

I’d seen the logo on the book myself and thought it was an interesting idea but didn’t overthink it either.  I do think it’s interesting that the time estimate for this 272 page book is 5 hours which works out to a page a minute which is basically the same calculation that I use to estimate (roughly) how long it takes me to read most books.

Rather than focusing on the actual time estimate, I think the interesting part is trying to match the reading time to how long a flight might be which clearly positions this book as the kind of thing that a business traveller would pick up in the airport bookstore and then read on the flight when the in-flight movie sucks.

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