I thought this argument had been made recently with short fiction. But here it is again — fix contemporary society’s short attention span problem by accomodating it.
the chance of publishers successfully launching a novel by an unknown writer on the reading public are indeed slim in an information culture where we struggle to get through 10 pages without losing focus to the buzz of media white noise. Several hundred pages can feel like too much of a commitment when there is so much information to consume.
And who could deny that the actual experience of reading a long book can feel a little arduous if it doesn’t really make your heart sing? It is much like eating a delicious meal in an American restaurant – lovely, but you have to leave at least quarter of the portion behind or else you’ll explode. More than once I’ve been making my way through an 800-page novel only to conclude around the page 600 mark that I’m perfectly satisfied with my reading experience, indeed would recommend the book to others, but feel no particular inclination to finish.
Readable in a couple of hours, a novella demands far less time than a full-length novel: you can get through them in the same amount of time it takes to watch a film or two reality television programmes. If you read one in bed you can actually finish it in one go, as opposed to reading the same few chapters repeatedly because you keep forgetting what you covered the night before.