6 Aug 2016

A 1 Million Word Ebook?

Hail readers!

Recently, I became engaged in an argument with Mercedes R Lackey, multiple-time fantasy author extraordinaire. But the argument was not about such abstract debates as, say, character-driven versus plot-driven narrative, or the virtues of the semicolon; rather, it concerned a more concrete and technical question. Is it possible to create an ebook 1 million words in length? And is it possible to read such a monstrosity on, say, a Kindle?

I took the effort to test this proposition. My methodology is as follows. Since no one has been insane enough to write a 1-million word book (to my knowledge) I instead created an anthology. This anthology comprises of copyright free works available, as an EPUB, in the wonderful Gutenberg website. They are mainly legal and historical tomes spanning hundreds or indeed thousands of pages—as is the case with Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England.

I downloaded a number of such tomes from the Gutenberg website. I then used the excellent EpubMerge plugin available for Calibre to, funnily enough, merge the books into one. The resultant aberration I baptised the ‘1M Word Ebook Anthology’ (no points for creativity there!)

And what are my conclusions? Well; modern technology is indeed remarkable. My Mac has no trouble opening or editing the resultant file. You can see the screenshot here.

My Kindle takes a couple of seconds to open it, but once it does, it has no difficulty parsing and navigating the book. You can see photographic proof here.

And if that wasn’t enough, the following link allows you to download the file and see for yourself.

So there you have it: 1000,000 word ebook? No problem.

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