The Non-Fiction Book Inflation: Why We Should Buy Half-Empty Books

Vasil Nedelchev
2 min readNov 9, 2023

The Non-Fiction Book Inflation

What’s with non-fiction books these days?
Is this happening to you as well?

You read about the main point and the first anecdote and you lose interest. Or they dragged this point so long you don’t even care at some point.

Without looking at any Kindle stats I’m 99% sure most non-fiction books get abandoned In the first 20 pages.

No one wins when you write long books.

• Writers suffer writing it.
• Readers suffer reading it.

I heard once on a podcast that publishers have a standard of how thick a book should be. And guess what? It’s not related to the quality of the writing or anything that matters to the reader.

The standard comes from the fact that they need a thick enough book spine so they can fit the title and be readable when on the shelf.

Yep.

That’s why publishers ask writers to inflate the book content.
We are living in a book inflation and we don’t even know it.

We need a design intervention.
It’s time for a non-fiction book redesign.

Here is what should we do.

Have you seen how people underline things and write notes on the margins of a good book? That’s an opportunity.

Let’s combine the publisher’s fetish for thick books and the habit of people writing on the margins.

So you have a page of text.
And a blank page for notes.
Alternating.

I believe the value of a blank page of readers’ notes is of much higher value than artificially inflated content.

This can open an entirely new secondary market for books with much higher value. Imagine buying a copy of the book Letters from a Stoic that Tim Ferriss used to own with all his notes.
That’s a collectable item!

Non-fiction book publishing is ripe for disruption.
We just need someone bold enough that well start selling books with half-empty pages.

And some nut people like myself that will actually buy them.

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Vasil Nedelchev

Product Designer. Writing about design beyond your day job. Get all my writing at designsolo.co