Reading Length is a web app that estimates how long it will take you to read nearly any book.
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Reading Length

Book length search engine

Reading Length is a web app that estimates how long it will take you to read nearly any book.


Installation currently involves spinning up a DigitalOcean droplet with node, importing a copy of the current MongoDB (or at least its schema), and using PM2 to keep it running and for continuous deployment.


  • NPM
  • Node.js
  • Express
  • MongoDB
  • An Amazon Product Advertising API key

Please be patient as I refactor the codebase to run on next.js, which can be easily pushed to Now or Heroku.


Navigate to the front-end and enter a book in the search bar.



  • Search for any book (Uses Amazon's Product Advertising API combined with cached results in the mongo storage)
  • View a books estimated word count (Accurate results are input manually, estimates are derived from the book's audiobook length multiplied by a standard speaking words per minute rate, guesses are based on the number of pages)
  • Calculate how long it will take you to read the book based on your own reading words per minute speed


  • Search for any book (Using a combination of Google Books API and ISBNdb data)
  • View a book's current prices (Using ISBNdb data)
  • Create a user account
  • Add books to a reading list
  • Integrate with Goodreads for list syncing
  • Create and join book clubs
  • Discuss the currently reading book in book clubs
  • Organize book club events
  • Earn points for visiting and interacting with the site, redeemable for gift cards or charitable donations



This project started out when I was spending the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college back home, in 2015. When I wasn't hiking or hanging out with friends, I was reading. I had previously done some Python work, trying to perform arbitrage between cryptocurrency exchange rate spreads (see my cryptsy-arb project), and thought Python would be a great fit for a program to keep track of my reading. At the time I was reading the fourth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, so I wanted to know how long it would take me to finish it. The first iteration of this project asked you how many pages are in a book, how many you have read, how many words you think are on each page, and how fast you read. This worked out surprisingly well, so I decided to learn some PHP and ship a website.

The second iteration of this project used PHP to render out HTML using data from Google Books. PHP is not a language that I claim to know, and I found out how bad I was at writing code when I decided to redesign the scripts to consume Amazon's API information. When I finally got the website running on the LAMP stack, I naturally made a post on We all know how that goes. But with a peak of 700 active visitors before the server blew its heap, I verified that this is something people are interested in. I spent the next few months learning how to write decent PHP.

WordPress seemed like the next natural step for the website. I wanted to let people create user accounts and have lists (such as the functionality described above) but I didn't have a good grasp on how to create a user management system. I had set up WordPress websites with BuddyPress in the past to help manage Minecraft communities, so I thought it wouldn't be too hard to port my PHP system into a WordPress plugin. Somehow I succeeded. Everything was going great: tens of thousands of users visited my site each month and I was making some beer money with minimal maintenance. Until the theme plugin I was using stopped workin, rendering the website unmaintainable.

In January of 2018 I decided to use the JavaScript knowledge I had picked up through various online courses to use and rewrite the website using Node. I had never worked with Node before, but I'd have to say I did a kick ass job implementing it (even though from a functional programming standpoint the code is horrible, I had no idea what object oriented programming in JS meant, and what does linting mean?). I ditched the user accounts and did a bit of refactoring the codebase, but not much. I learned how to use PM2 to reboot the server any time an uncaught exception was thrown, and automatically pull the latest code from the project's master branch in GitHub. If I haven't removed this sentence, this is still how it is


Reading Length is maintained solely by me, running on a linux-mongo-express-node stack. I am working on first refactoring and linting the current code to be more maintainable, and then porting that to run on a next.js, apollo, GraphQL, Yoga, Prisma, and React stack (Yes, I decided to take Wes Bos's Advanced React course).


Pull requests are welcome (at your own risk). For major changes, please open an issue first to discuss what you would like to change.