One day I asked myself: “What is the longest book? What is the longest book ever written? What is the longest book in the world? What is the longest book in Eglish? Do these questions give the same answer?” I decided to figure it out.
At first glance it’s clear, that longest books are encyclopedias. The longest one contains about 370 million Chinese characters. During the Ming Dynasty approximately 3,000 scholars spent 4 years, beginning in 1403, to work on the Yongle Dadian or “Yongle dadian”, or “Yung-lo ta-tien” (literally it means ”The Great Canon” or “Vast Documents of the Yongle Era” or “The Encyclopedia of Yongle Emperor’s Reign in Ming Dynasty”). It is an encyclopedia with 11,095 volumes and 22,877 chapters.
But, what is the longest book which isn’t encyclopedia? It appears that the answer is not so simple. If we’ll look at Wikipedia, longest novel section (in latin or cyrillic alphabets) we’ll find that first two “longest novels” aren’t published (!!), i.e., they are not printed as books (and never was). Longest novel in other scripts is Sohachi Yamaoka’s 40-volume book Tokugawa Ieyasu which contains over 10 million Japanese characters. Maybe it is the longest book, but now it’s unavailable so I can’t check existence of this title.
So, what is the longest book which I could read, which I could buy, which I could love or which I could hate? After some research I’ve found that the longest book in English (and in the world) is The Blah Story by Nigel Tomm. For now, 23 volumes of the book (novel) are published, they contain 11,338,105 words; 61,745,771 characters (with spaces); 17,868 pages.
In the image above The Blah Story books (taken from PRLEAP).
Read more in Longest Book in the World (Fact #2).