How many words is too many words?
For you, as a reader, what length of books do you typically read?
Do you tend to read shorter works, perhaps in the neighborhood of 60,000?
Or do you enjoy longer works? Upwards of 130,000 words (or more)?
Industry standards have been in place for books according to genre. It's rare that any book (fantasy is the exception) will be accepted by an agent for consideration if it's over 100,000-ish.
For example, consider the Harry Potter series. Kids' books, right? So, no way can a kid's book be more than 50,000-60,000 words. Right? What kid can read anything greater than that?
Well, pretty much all of them, apparently, considering the word counts of the books in the series:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – 76,944 words
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – 85,141 words
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – 107,253 words
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – 190,637 words
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – 257,045 words
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – 168,923 words
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – 198,227 words
OOTP is 257,045 words?
I don't know about you, but I didn't want those books to end. I didn't want the series to end.
So, no, 257,045 wasn't too many words.
Personally, I enjoy a longer tale. A book to "get comfortably lost in" as Stephen King once put it. His works are on the longer side. I grew up reading them. Perhaps this is why my books are on the longer side.
I often ponder this as I'm writing and watching the word-count climb. But I let the story be what it wants to be. I don't think it's wise or necessary to adhere to an arbitrary word count or limit.
The bottom line is that a great story is a great story. Word count be darned.
So, what do you prefer? Are you glad Jo let OOTP roam? Or would it have been best if each of the HP tomes was locked at 80K?