100 Scope Notes Special Report: Page Count Conspiracy
The following is a work of fiction.
A 100 Scope Notes Investigation
Ask anyone involved in children’s literature and they’ll tell you books for kids are getting longer. Are rising page counts due to changing tastes, a lack of editing – or something more sinister?
Some believe it is a deliberate scheme to take up as much shelf space as possible, “squeezing out” the competition.
Some credit Brian Jacques as the godfather of this trend.
“Jacques was way ahead of his time, but he dominated shelf space with many large books. That takes years – years we don’t have. What we figured out was that this could be done much quicker with one book with an insanely high page count,” said an unnamed publishing source.
Rumors are rampant that authors of short books are increasingly being asked to up the page count, or risk having their manuscripts sent back for more additions.
Publisher Embiggen Books is leading the charge, with an internal motto – wider is gooder. The goal? To take up all the shelf space, crowding out all other books. “We’re inspired by Unabridged dictionaries – not for their content, but for their impressive size,” said an Embiggen spokesperson. “Massive books that gloriously span wide chunks of valuable shelf real estate.”
“I tacked on this really weird scene of a character going nuts on his keyboard (excerpt: lskdfjs.asidfuosaidfoiuaosejofjfs!!!ioejfosjef) for around 8 or 9 pages. I had to meet my page quota,” says an Embiggen author who spoke to 100 Scope Notes under condition of anonymity.
The trend is quickly spreading to even established authors.
“Have you heard about JK Rowlings new book? It’s 56,000 pages long. At one point the main character just says every word she knows,” reports an unnamed industry insider.
As you might expect, the e-book revolution is a concern for page count crowders.
“We’re experimenting with large file sizes that fill up hard drives and e-readers, but it isn’t the same,” laments an unnamed publishing source.
Some summer releases point to a continuation of the trend. Books like Everything: Detailed Descriptions of Every Thing, and new series Chat Room, which is a reprint of everything said in an incredibly long internet chat room discussion thread.
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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