One Useful Thing: How Long to Read ⏰📘

See how long it takes to read your book.

One Useful Thing is a weekly newsletter of well-designed and helpful things.


If you are putting off chugging through that book on your nightstand because of the number of hours it will take to read, fear not.

How Long to Read will give you a pretty accurate idea of how long it will take to reach the final page.

Here I’ve searched for Sapiens, a book I’ve already finished. How Long to Read says it would take 8 hours and 16 minutes to read at the average reading speed of 300 words per minute. I’m a slow reader, so it took me a little longer to finish. But How Long to Read’s estimate feels in the ballpark.

For a more accurate idea of how long it will take you to read a book, you can take a reading speed test right on the book’s page. Just click the ‘Test Reading Speed’ button. How Long to Read says at my reading speed it would take almost 10 hours to read Sapiens. That’s about how long it actually took me to finish it.

How Long to Read struggles with more obscure books. It said the book about artificial intelligence I’m currently reading would take 30 seconds to finish. I wish.

Even so, your book is probably one of the 12 million titles How Long to Read retrieves from Amazon’s Good Reads website to estimate reading times.

Now you can decide whether to read your book or give it away. Not to mention clear a little space on your nightstand.

Visit How Long to Read

Keith Monaghan writes the One Useful Thing newsletter and is a researcher who works with creative teams on projects for companies like Nike, The CW Network and Upworthy. Just reply to this email to get in touch or follow him on Twitter @keithmonaghan

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