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Old 01-24-2016, 02:19 AM   #1
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New book stats on website

I just noticed that there is a new stats and keywords section when viewing book details from the Kobo website. It shows number of pages, reading time, number of words, and a list of keywords.

I don't know how the number of pages or reading time is calculated, but I think being able to see the number of words is a very useful feature.

Here is a screenshot from the details page of this book viewed from New Zealand:
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Old 01-24-2016, 06:18 AM   #2
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Good to see the numbers. Though I'm not sure about the circles as a way of showing the size. They pages one looks to be 500 pages, so anything higher shows a full circle.

There are also some keywords under the stats. But, they don't look very useful so far. Most seem to be character names in the books and other terms that probably only occur in that book or series.

And thinking of stats, did anyone else get the reading activity email earlier in the month? I don't remember it being mentioned. It shows the stats for my reading for the previous three months. But, it is only for "Kobo eBooks", so only books I purchased from Kobo. I like it, but as it only captures maybe half of my reading, it isn't very accurate.
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Old 01-25-2016, 06:27 PM   #3
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Gee that's interesting Geoff.

But, I've opened your link and can't see where on the book details page the book stats and page info as shown in your attached pics is (and I'm signed into NZ account) ......
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Old 01-25-2016, 06:31 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by davidfor View Post
Good to see the numbers. Though I'm not sure about the circles as a way of showing the size. They pages one looks to be 500 pages, so anything higher shows a full circle.

There are also some keywords under the stats. But, they don't look very useful so far. Most seem to be character names in the books and other terms that probably only occur in that book or series.

And thinking of stats, did anyone else get the reading activity email earlier in the month? I don't remember it being mentioned. It shows the stats for my reading for the previous three months. But, it is only for "Kobo eBooks", so only books I purchased from Kobo. I like it, but as it only captures maybe half of my reading, it isn't very accurate.
Kobo is becoming much more useful in what it offers the user now, eh!
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Old 01-26-2016, 02:46 AM   #5
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But, I've opened your link and can't see where on the book details page the book stats and page info as shown in your attached pics is (and I'm signed into NZ account) ......
I can't see the stats at the moment either. Perhaps they were just testing it.
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Old 01-26-2016, 05:00 AM   #6
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I'm not seeing them in the Oz shop either.
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Old 01-26-2016, 08:26 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Lynx-lynx View Post
Gee that's interesting Geoff.

But, I've opened your link and can't see where on the book details page the book stats and page info as shown in your attached pics is (and I'm signed into NZ account) ......
I checked a half-dozen books, and I can't see it either.
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Old 01-27-2016, 05:31 PM   #8
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In my opinion, these stats are useless. Like David I don't like the representation, it's poorly chosen, as evidenced by the attached image.

How does the concept of pages apply to an e-book reader anyway? The number of pages in the print edition might be useful in this regard even though sometimes there are huge differences in font size and line spacing over multiple editions. Maybe there's a magic number of words assumed for a page? A page used to consist of roughly 250 words back when novels were written on typewriters. Today it's somewhere between 250 and 300 words for your regular paperback novel.

I've configured my Kobo in a way that I see roughly the same amount of content as when reading a traditional mass market paperback novel. I know people who use large fonts, a ridiculous amount of line spacing, or huge margins. The same applies to the reading time. I tend to read fiction three to four times faster than nonfiction and almost everybody I know reads much slower than I do.

I also doubt the algorithm is excluding all kinds of front/back matter like huge appendices (roughly 60 pages in Martin's A Dance with Dragons) from these stats, throwing them further off. Statistically not relevant? Maybe.

There are not that many books showing stats, at the moment. Probably depends on the data received from the customers.

To my mind, these are approximations and not stats. For what it's worth, I'm sure I read Ice Station at least twice as fast as I did Half a King. And I was on vacation when I read the latter last year with plenty of time.
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Old 01-27-2016, 05:49 PM   #9
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Caine which country are you viewing that info in? It doesn't show in Kobo Aus ....
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Old 01-27-2016, 05:59 PM   #10
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I think they are still tweaking things: the reading time for the book I linked to in post #1 has increased from 4-5 hours to 7-8 hours, although the page and word counts remain the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caine View Post
In my opinion, these stats are useless.
However they are calculated, any page count will be arbitrary and any reading time estimate will be subjective, but the word count is a valid statistic and a very useful one IMO.
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Old 01-27-2016, 06:10 PM   #11
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Caine which country are you viewing that info in? It doesn't show in Kobo Aus ....
Austria. I didn't sign in for the screenshots.

There are very few books with stats yet but most newer books. I also had to tweak my adblocker settings to seem as well.

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However they are calculated, any page count will be arbitrary and any reading time estimate will be subjective, but the word count is a valid statistic and a very useful one IMO.
Yeah, the word count is the only one that really matters and probably the basis for the other two stats. Unfortunately, this is the least comprehensible metric for most people.

//edit
Current stats for Schild's Ladder as they are served on my end. I can also see the exact same – and mostly useless – keywords.
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Old 01-27-2016, 06:14 PM   #12
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but the word count is a valid statistic and a very useful one IMO.
In general I prefer word count to page count, but if they're auto generating the word count problems come in when you get a novella with enough excerpts for other books in the back to double the detected word count (or more).
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Old 01-27-2016, 06:22 PM   #13
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In my opinion, these stats are useless. Like David I don't like the representation, it's poorly chosen, as evidenced by the attached image.
I didn't say that. I do like the look of the stats. I was mainly questioning the use completing the circle to the lengths. They need something extra for when the book is more than 500 pages.
Quote:
How does the concept of pages apply to an e-book reader anyway? The number of pages in the print edition might be useful in this regard even though sometimes there are huge differences in font size and line spacing over multiple editions. Maybe there's a magic number of words assumed for a page? A page used to consist of roughly 250 words back when novels were written on typewriters. Today it's somewhere between 250 and 300 words for your regular paperback novel.
They are probably using the Adobe page count algorithm. Their ereaders do this for epubs and it is an option for kepubs. And of course it is innacurate and depends on so many other things. But, so long as they use the same algorithm across their site, it gives a good relative size. And is more understandable to most people, myself included. That's how I have compared length of novels for as long as I've been reading. I can see word count is probably better but I don't have a feel for what it means yet.
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I've configured my Kobo in a way that I see roughly the same amount of content as when reading a traditional mass market paperback novel. I know people who use large fonts, a ridiculous amount of line spacing, or huge margins. The same applies to the reading time. I tend to read fiction three to four times faster than nonfiction and almost everybody I know reads much slower than I do.

I also doubt the algorithm is excluding all kinds of front/back matter like huge appendices (roughly 60 pages in Martin's A Dance with Dragons) from these stats, throwing them further off. Statistically not relevant? Maybe.

There are not that many books showing stats, at the moment. Probably depends on the data received from the customers.

To my mind, these are approximations and not stats. For what it's worth, I'm sure I read Ice Station at least twice as fast as I did Half a King. And I was on vacation when I read the latter last year with plenty of time.
I assumed the reading time is based on some words per minute or pages per minute for a mythical average reader. It would be nice to think they are calculating it based on their user base, or even better, based on my stats, but I doubt it.

And why would the backmatter be excluded? The appendices are parts of the books and get read, so they should be included. Excluding "Bonus" material like the first chapter of the next book in the series would be a good, but that needs some sort of indication in the book if the calculation is to be automated. But again, that is still part of the book, so if the time is for reading "cover to cover", it should be included.
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Old 01-27-2016, 07:39 PM   #14
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I didn't say that. I do like the look of the stats. I was mainly questioning the use completing the circle to the lengths. They need something extra for when the book is more than 500 pages.
Of course. I didn't want to imply that. What I meant is that, like you, I don't find the circle appropriate because a full circle seems to represent 500 pages. Kobo needs to add one or more (inner/outer) circles, depending on the number of pages. Otherwise, the circle in it's current incarnation is no use as a visual indicator and the designers should choose another way to visually represent the number of pages.

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They are probably using the Adobe page count algorithm. Their ereaders do this for epubs and it is an option for kepubs. And of course it is innacurate and depends on so many other things. But, so long as they use the same algorithm across their site, it gives a good relative size. And is more understandable to most people, myself included. That's how I have compared length of novels for as long as I've been reading. I can see word count is probably better but I don't have a feel for what it means yet.
I agree, it's definitely better than nothing or the abstract word count. You're obviously right insofar as the relative size is concerned. Didn't think of that in the heat of the moment. Still, I do like data to be accurate and the number of pages isn't. Martin's A Dance with Dragons is off by ~300 pages, compared to the MMPB (and my settings). I'd draw the wrong conclusions, at least until I've gotten used to the stats (or until Kobo changes the algorithm for unknown reasons).

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I assumed the reading time is based on some words per minute or pages per minute for a mythical average reader. It would be nice to think they are calculating it based on their user base, or even better, based on my stats, but I doubt it.
Looks like Kobo is assuming somewhere around 290 words per page and a reading speed of roughly 12 000 words per hour, which coincides with the average reading speed of 200 words per minute. That's suspiciously close to your mythical average reader.

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And why would the backmatter be excluded? The appendices are parts of the books and get read, so they should be included. Excluding "Bonus" material like the first chapter of the next book in the series would be a good, but that needs some sort of indication in the book if the calculation is to be automated. But again, that is still part of the book, so if the time is for reading "cover to cover", it should be included.
I've never actually read appendices or glossaries. Sure, I use them to look up some terms or whatever can be found there but mostly I don't have to. As far as forewords, acknowledgments, TOCs, introductions, prefaces, etc. are concerned, you don't have to read them to understand the book. They might help with some things but they're usually not essential for the story. That's different for nonfiction books.
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Old 01-27-2016, 09:43 PM   #15
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Of course. I didn't want to imply that. What I meant is that, like you, I don't find the circle appropriate because a full circle seems to represent 500 pages. Kobo needs to add one or more (inner/outer) circles, depending on the number of pages. Otherwise, the circle in it's current incarnation is no use as a visual indicator and the designers should choose another way to visually represent the number of pages.
I like the concept, something filling up as it gets bigger, but that implies a maximum, or they are just going with the old, "one, two, three, many". But maybe that works for the mythical average reader. There are a lot of people who would consider a 400 page novel to long.

Inner and outer would work, or maybe changing the colour for each pass.
Quote:
I agree, it's definitely better than nothing or the abstract word count. You're obviously right insofar as the relative size is concerned. Didn't think of that in the heat of the moment. Still, I do like data to be accurate and the number of pages isn't. Martin's A Dance with Dragons is off by ~300 pages, compared to the MMPB (and my settings). I'd draw the wrong conclusions, at least until I've gotten used to the stats (or until Kobo changes the algorithm for unknown reasons).
When the stats reappear down-under, I'll compare what they show with what is on the ereader. And maybe some paperbacks.
Quote:
I've never actually read appendices or glossaries. Sure, I use them to look up some terms or whatever can be found there but mostly I don't have to. As far as forewords, acknowledgments, TOCs, introductions, prefaces, etc. are concerned, you don't have to read them to understand the book. They might help with some things but they're usually not essential for the story. That's different for nonfiction books.
I usually read everything. Depending on the book, the appendices might get read as I'm reading the book and look something up. Otherwise, I'll read them after the book. But, I don't usually read the first chapter of the next book. I think I have only once recently and that was because I probably wasn't going to read the rest of the series but wanted to give it one more chance. And to wanted see if the cliff-hanger was resolved in the first chapter. It wasn't, and it confirmed my decision not to continue.
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