How Long Should an Ebook Be?

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If you’re in the B2B industry, you already know the numerous benefits of content marketing. You’ll also know that it hinges on providing high-value content to your potential customers. Beyond blog posts, there are other forms of valuable content to add to your repertoire, such as downloadable checklists, white papers, and that’s right – ebooks. However, how long should an ebook be?


Generally, the rule of thumb is 2,000 – 2,500 words. But the right answer is a bit more nuanced than that. 


In this piece, we will look at the role of the ebook in content marketing today, what makes it different from other downloadable content such as the white paper, and what to keep in mind when creating one, while answering the question in more depth  – how long should an ebook be?

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The Role of the Ebook In Business and Marketing

The term Ebook is broad, and for many readers will conjure thoughts of Kindles and other e-readers, but the term in a marketing context is somewhat different.


Generally speaking, an ebook in business is a document, typically a PDF, that is designed to be read on phones, tablets, and computers. This format promises to cover its topic in more depth than a blog post is able to. 


When determining how long should an ebook be, partially the answer is long enough to support separate chapters or sections. These sub-sections are generally quite short, as ebooks are intended to be skimmable, signposting the most important information and using visuals to break up information. 

Ebooks are commonly used in demand generation, as lead magnets. They can also be used to supplement your outbound and paid ad strategies, as they offer a compelling, low-pressure way for potential customers to learn more about your knowledge base. For marketers, ebooks demonstrate how well you understand the industry and build trust with future customers through thought leadership.

Ebooks VS White Papers

A question we get asked a lot is – how does an ebook differ from a white paper?

It’s true that white papers and ebooks are both content marketing mainstays, they can be around the same length, often used to build thought leadership for a brand, and often used as gated content to entice potential customers into sharing their email addresses. 


What sets them apart, most significantly, is the tone. Think of the white paper as a textbook chapter and the ebook as a magazine article. Both convey valuable information, but one prioritizes factual clarity and the other prioritizes creating a compelling reading experience.


White papers are heavily researched documents designed to make technically complex topics understandable, while sharing the company’s philosophy on the topic, in a factual, polished tone similar to that of a research paper. 


Ebooks, on the other hand, take a much warmer, more lightweight approach. Text is broken up into readable chunks and an engaging voice is valued. The topics should still be well researched but the burden of illustrating this is less than with a white paper. Your ebook may be on something technical or give valuable insight into a subject close to your target buyers’ hearts. 


You can use ebooks strategically to reach audiences that white papers potentially would not, as some customers will struggle with the density of the white paper format. Topics that might be overstretched by the granularity of a white paper can make for great ebooks.

how long should an ebook be?

What Makes A Good Ebook?

Besides how long should an ebook be, there are three other points we’d encourage you to keep in mind when drafting your ebook.

It’s Value Rich

First and foremost, your ebook should deliver value to your readers, in the form of insight and information. An ebook that’s poorly written or only superficially engaged with its proposed theme not only won’t be effective, but it will also actively hinder your attempts to build trust with your audience.

It’s Visually Engaging

A bite-sized, visually compelling format – utilizing infographics, stats, and callout boxes – is key to making your content sink in. Unlike white papers, which can get away with being a bit more heavy and linear, readers expect ebooks to be more palatable reads.

It Is Not A Sales Pitch

Related to point one – you need to play the long game with your ebook. Your only sales pitch within it should be making the reader aware of the brand behind this useful content. This is more than enough to drive brand awareness and over time, position you as a thought leader.

How Long Should an Ebook Be? Long Enough to Deliver Value

So – how long should an ebook be? An average business ebook is between 2,000 – 2,500 words long. But a longer ebook may be closer to 5,000 words, and a shorter one may not reach quite reach 2,000. The length should be influenced by the intended audience and subject. 


We can’t recommend anything less than 1,500 words long. The reason for this is that you risk underwhelming your audience – even in a free giveaway. Inbound marketing relies on building relationships with potential customers – offering lackluster content will only undermine your efforts. This is especially true if you intend to use your ebook as gated content. 


Like most of us, your leads are likely already plagued by spam emails. So to be trusted with their email addresses deserves respect. Create something with enough depth to be informative and make the exchange feel fair, and save your shorter content for the accessible blog.

how long should an ebook be?

Hopefully, this article has illustrated both how long should an ebook be, and also how to make one that truly benefits your marketing strategy. 

Remember – there’s no point in creating an ebook just for the sake of it. For inbound marketing to work, you need to be able to offer something of value to consumers. If you don’t have time to craft sufficiently value-rich work, we can help. 

At Nituno, not only do we write high-quality ebooks and a variety of other content, but we also understand how to leverage that content to best empower our clients. We use a mix of inbound, outbound, and paid advertising to turbo-charge our clients’ growth. To get the most out of your marketing, get in touch with us today.

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