Introduction to word countingWord counting has been prevalent since publishing came into being. Before the invention of printing machines, all books and write-ups were handwritten. Books were written on papyrus or leaves which would absorb any natural colour.
With the invention of printing machines and later the printing press, making of books became a very easier task. Books were more preservable. Also, the amount of space and paper being used for a particular write up became less. Standard fonts were developed. In fact, publishers started to make business on the amount of space being used on a given size of paper. They started to measure the amount of space that can be given to a writer and determine how much they pay for their material being printed on the paper. This gave birth to what is called as Publisher word count.
Word Count and Publisher word countWe all know that words can be formed from a single character and can also be very long. The shortest word can be single letter words like "I", "a". The longest word can take up many characters. For example, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" takes 34 characters, while "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" takes 45 characters. Thus, if we write, I am going to the shop, I am consuming just 22 characters. But for the longest word itself, I am consuming 45 characters. This creates a discrepancy and concern for the publisher. This is because such words will use a lot of paper space.The concern over here is, if we say, that I am writing a 500 worded article, still, the total number of characters being used can vary a lot.
The logic behind creating Publisher Word CountThe necessity to create Publisher word count came up to precisely using the available space on paper. This helps to reduce space wastage. Also, the publisher is able to charge more if the publisher word count goes above the limit. Thus an article with less number of long words will use less space. Also, in word quality optimisation, also called as search engine optimisation in web publishers, too many short words gives a poor quality of write-ups. Similarly, usage of too many long words leads to difficult comprehension of the same.
How is Publisher word count calculated?The international standard taken up by publishers is 6 characters per word. This includes any blank spaces as well. Irrespective of the length of each word, publishers consider 6 characters as one word. These 6 characters also include blank spaces in them. This logic helps to override the varying length of words and standardises the word count methods.
There is a high possibility that the normal word count would almost be equal to publisher word count. And the publishers would resort to normal word count to keep it easy for writers.
ConclusionNormal word count is purely based on the number of words written. Publisher word count is based on counting 6 characters as one word. This includes the blank spaces as well. Publisher word count was created to normalise and override on the varying lengths of words. It allows publishers to maximise on the space that they print the letters on paper.
Very interesting article. Such a subtle difference between the writer's word count and publisher's word count. I heard it first time.
When word count facility is not there, we have difficulty to find the count in our write up. At that time we can use this technique by simply counting the letters and spaces in only one line and then dividing it by 6 and multiplying the result by the number of lines to get the publisher's word count and I hope it will not vary much from the usual count and can be taken as approximate value.
Thanks for posting this information as I can use it in that fashion.