A common literary term that refers to a book being so thick and heavy that it can be used as a doorstopper. Or a weapon. Or a substitute for barbells. Or a method with which to give an orthopedist a job. While it is likely to be used in a spirit of derision, as it evokes the idea of Padding in spades, there are also many fine books that could technically stop a door or kill a man in a pinch.
Proper Doorstoppers (also known as Tree Killers) should be over 500 pages. If one book is over 1,000 pages, it is probably a Doorstopper. This goes double if the typeface is smaller than 10 points.
When talking about a "doorstopper series", the series in question is likely to involve great battles between good and evil, a Chosen One and mysterious jewelry. It is a doorstopper series if, and only if, every actual book in the series is a Doorstopper.
Oftentimes, publishers will turn an ordinary trilogy, tetralogy, or series into one huge book. The result is not always a Doorstopper but it is an "Omnibus", and the biggest ones can still be used to stop doors, press flowers, act as fake gold in a bank robbery, or crush small children. These are sometimes for the convenience of fans of the series. Other times, with very long series or ones where the order almost doesn't matter, it's to sell volumes that don't sell anywhere near as well as the most popular books in the series. Conversely, a publisher might avoid releasing an intimidating doorstopper by having the book Divided for Publication.
If there's any chance that a doorstopper can be adapted into film, they could either be condensed or split if the content could not be fitted into two or three hours.
Can and will cause massive muscle fatigue when reading while holding the book in your hands. Can also cause the written text to disappear into the centerfold — or the book itself to rip apart halfway through reading!
Technology Marches On, and these days, a doorstopper can still be really, really long, but all fits neatly on your comparatively light and small smartphone or favorite e-reader. Keep in mind how lucky we are today compared to the 20th century and before, when bookworms had to decide if they really wanted to lug the doorstopper of a book they were really enjoying with them on the bus to work.
The Visual Novel genre of Video Games and any video games that use this trope has taken this to an art form. These games can have upwards of 70+ straight hours of reading (around double the length of an average game, which is 25–40 hours) being unusually common for the high-profile games.
When a character takes this trope a little too literally, see Useful Book. Extremely useful if one wishes to Throw the Book at Them. A Great Big Book of Everything, as the name implies, is very likely to be a Doorstopper, but that trope requires that it writes about a very wide range of topics.
And what's a doorstopper without lots of characters? Of both types.
A doorstopper can incite a case of Archive Panic with one single volume. Not to be confused with Door Jam (or a Doorstop Baby).
Examples that became their own doorstoppers (all real-world examples, by the way):<!—index—>
- Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
- Fan Works
- Law & Government
- Myths & Religion
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Blankets is a 582 page autobiographical graphic novel.
- Jeff Smith's Bone. Other comic books can — and have — run longer, but few of them are published as a single-volume, 1,300-page tome.
- The Cerebus "phone book" collections; all but the thinnest four can indeed stop doors. And they're trade drift paperbacks!
- Comic Book Tattoo, a collection of short stories based on songs by Tori Amos, is both thick and wide, making it absolutely massive...and a great prop for using one's laptop on the bed.
- Similarly the Absolute collections of certain comics and runs of comics produced by DC Comics. They aren't usually as long as the Marvel Omnibuses, but make up for it by being printed at an expanded page size.
- Not a comic book but a book about comics: the volume produced by DC Comics to mark their 75th anniversary - called, naturally enough, 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking measures around 16 by 11.5 inches and is three inches thick. It weighs in at around 15lb. Fortunately, it comes in a sturdy cardboard carrying case.
- The collected editions of Richard Starking's Elephantmen comics, they also usually come out in hardback first so they're quite heavy.
- The Flight Anthologies more often than not deserve this status, as do the Popgun anthologies.
- The complete collected edition of From Hell.
- The TF Wiki refers to the G.I. Joe vs. Transformers Omnibus as a "tarantula-smasher" of a book at around 500 pages.
- The aptly named Gold Brick collections of Antarctic Press's Gold Digger are 25 issues each.
- The Invisibles Omnibus: 1536 pages and just under 10 lbs. Not recommended to be read in one sitting. DC Entertainment is not responsible for any hallucinations you may experience if you try.
- The Judge Dredd complete case files. Each one contains a year's worth of storylines. And don't even get started on the upcoming Meltdown Man graphic novel.
- The KISS Kompendium, a compilation of the KISS Psycho Circus comic book series which comes in at a massive 1,280 pages and 10+ pounds.
- The Marvel Omnibuses, massive collections of selections of various series, tend to be hefty. The Hulk omnibus, for example, weighs six pounds.
- At least 15 of them are over 1,000 pages. As of May 2013, the largest published is the collection of the first ten Dark Tower comic adaptations, at 1260 pages.
- Close followers are the complete collection of Peter Milligan's and Mike Allred's X-Force/X-Statix and related spin-offs, also at over 1200 pages, the collection of Walt Simonson's complete run (as writer) on The Mighty Thor and related spin-offs (1,136 numbered pages of reprints plus about 50 of supplemental materials) and the Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus (Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's entire 39 issue run plus two annuals: 1,088 pages long, three inches thick and a whopping eight pounds).
- Saga Compendium One, the entire first half of the comic collected in a 1,328-page hardcover. Take care to avoid back strain when lifting.
- The Sandman (1989): Although not really a Doorstopper, Neil Gaiman's introduction to "The Kindly Ones" states that the hardcover version of the book is heavy enough to stun a burglar in the dark, which has always been his definition of true art.
- Frank Miller's Big Damn Sin City, a compilation of every Sin City yarn written to-date. It's the size of a dictionary.
- The Strangers in Paradise Omnibus edition. 2 volumes in a single slipcase box totaling just under 2400 pages.
- The "Ultimate Collection" volumes for UDON's Street Fighter comics are roughly the size of an average textbook. And cost $60 each, making them similar in price as well.
- Return of Superman contains all 21 issues of the arc. Paired with The Death of Superman and World Without a Superman, another 7 and 9 issues respectively, it is thicker than a phone book.
- The collected volumes for Superman: Doomsday and Superman: Our Worlds at War are just as long.
- The The Walking Dead Omnibus collects 24 issues, and is officially described as being "perfect for longtime fans, new readers and anyone needing a heavy object with which to fend off The Walking Dead."
- And then there's The Walking Dead compendium, which is 48 issues, collected in one volume.
- Publishers have recently released complete collections of the entire runs of certain newspaper comic strips, including Calvin and Hobbes as well as The Far Side. Though spread out into multiple volumes, each one is still pretty hefty.
- The complete Calvin and Hobbes weighs over five pounds.
- The Far Side one is in two volumes, each being about as big as a double-size cereal box and the preface even calls it an "18-pound hernia giver".
- Collections of comic strips often have larger dimensions (taller/wider) than normal books, as well, making them even more awkward.
- Given how long some comics like Blondie have been running... imagine how big a "Complete Blondie" collection would be. This volume is only three years worth, and it's almost four pounds!
- The collected edition Toda Mafalda, at 658 pages.
- The Complete Peanuts, begun by Fantagraphics in 2004: "50 years of art. 25 books. Two books per year for 12½ years."
- The CBS Home Entertainment complete-series DVD release of Gunsmoke is remarkably expansive for a complete-series release— it contains 143 discs with all 635 episodes from all 20 years (both half-hour and hour), plus plenty of bonus features (many episodes have the episodic previews, and there are also audio commentaries on a few shows, featurettes, photo galleries, and quite a bit more).
- MPI's complete-series release of the hit 60s to early 70s ABC daily serial Dark Shadows also counts— it's 131 discs featuring all 1,225 episodes from that hit ABC serial, plus an expansive episode guide covering all episodes, plenty of featurettes, interviews, photo galleries, and much more (it's the only daytime serial to date to have gotten a complete-series DVD release).
- The New York Times and The Washington Post were Doorstoppers until quite recently (the last two serious newspapers in the U.S., and 25¢ in the case of the Post) when a combination of the ad-killing recession, Franchise Decay (the Post laid off half its reporters the minute it no longer had a serious newspaper competitor) and the foolish decision to split up its content into multiple formats (half the articles are now available for free in subway editions, and the front page actually tells you to go online to read an article accompanying a photo for a paper you just bought!) the result, needless to say has been a precipitous decline in volume and content from over 100 pages an issue to something like 25.
- Most newspapers were back in the day, especially Sunday papers; the Sunday, February 2, 2003 Los Angeles Times had a page count of 712 pages on its front page that day, for a cover price of $1.50 (that page count includes all news, sports, classified and other sections, advertising circulars, TV Times TV guide section, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Parade magazine, and all other reading material). Nowadays, Sunday papers are nowhere near what they used to be; you're lucky to get 40 or 50 pages of razor-thin news and sports sections, a comics section, a Parade mag if you're lucky, and one or two advertising circulars, for a massively inflated cover price (the Greenville News is like this, and charges $4 for all this meager content [not their fault though, but more of their current owner Gannett/USA Today Network]).
- At the height of its popularity around 1994-1995, Electronic Gaming Monthly would crank out issues that totalled about 400+ pages in length (although half the pages were just ads.) This caused EGM2, a spinoff magazine which focused more on tips and tricks launched in July 1994. For comparison's sake, the magazine could barely fill 100 pages by the time it "died" in early 2009.
- The British computer magazine Personal Computer Worldnote also often resembled a small (ad filled) phone book during its heydays. Although it hadn't shrunk as much as EGM, it was still a shadow of its former self when it was cancelled.
- The German monthly magazine for computer technology c't has earned the title Germany's thickest magazine for men / Deutschlands dickstes Männermagazin, as it got 600-700 pages thick, weighted 1.2 kilograms and did no longer fit in many mailboxes at its peak in late 1990s. Since then, it has switched to a bi-weekly schedule with current issues still having over 200 pages.
- Japanese Shonen Jump volumes are phone-book thick, weighing in at about 500 pages each. And this is a weekly series. Hope you're big into recycling.
- The monthly American version is no slouch either. A few years ago, it covered 7 series and had about 400 pages per issue. Unfortunately, that's been going down recently, with the most recent issue having 4 series and 250 pages.
- Vogue is generally on the thick side, but its annual Spring and Fall fashion issues are always the magazine's 800-lb gorillas. Or should it be, 500-page gorillas. Most of it is ads, which you can't even call padding because it's an essential part of the magazine. But still, the table of contents doesn't even start until page 100 or so!
- While Playboy usually goes over a 100 pages, sometimes it reaches the 250-300 mark (most are advertising to maintain such a number of articles/pictorials, but still!).
- Before Internet shopping was commonplace, Computer Shopper carried ads to buy anything computer related. The result was a magazine that averaged 800 poster-sized pages, easily making it the largest magazine on newsstand shelves.
- This was the norm for print magazines of this type (of which there were several) in that era. Finding the editorial content in them was somewhat of a chore, as it was no larger than for a typical magazine, leaving almost all pages as nothing but ads.
- Any worthwhile partwork that makes it to the end of its run will end up quite hefty. Marshall Cavendish, renowned publisher of partworks, came up with the computer programming collection Input in the UK in the early-mid '80s; 52 issues at 32 pages a piece comes out to 1664 pages and four very heavy binders.
- Katsuhiro Otomo's Cyberpunk/Bio Punk magnum opus of manga, AKIRA, weighs in with six small-phonebook-sized volumes totaling 2182 pages.
- It Takes A Wizard was called this, mostly because it's notably longer than most manga.
- In order to cut costs during the economic downturn, many North American manga publishers have been combining two or three volumes of material into a single book. The resulting releases, depending on their dimensions, look either like phone books or pocket dictionaries. It's even more common with reprints of old material, since the title likely already made back its licensing costs during the original release, thus there is an incentive to put out a more economical book for new/poorer fans.
- For example, Viz Media released Cross Game as 2-in-1 books, each one just over 350 pages apiece.
- Azumanga Daioh doesn't seem very long once you've finished it, but the 4-volumes-in-1 omnibus is a somewhat surprising 686 pages. The lightning-fast presentation, however (think "newspaper comic"), belies the length.
- While the Chobits omnibuses deserve special mention at 720 pages each, EVERY Clamp omnibus being released by Dark Horse Comics qualifies at more than 500 pages each.
- Viz Media reprinted some of their legacy Shonen Jump titles in what they termed their "VizBIG" line. These are omnibuses of popular titles like Dragon Ball or Rurouni Kenshin printed on noticeably higher-quality paper, with larger dimensions (5¾"×8½" instead of 5"×7"). They also put three or even four old volumes into a book, making each one 600 or more pages, literally phone-book sized.
- Battle Royale is almost 3,000 pages, and feels like a small fraction of that.
- Every single volume of Keiko Tobe's With the Light qualifies. Seriously.
- Omnibus release of Fruits Basket - in two halves but they're huge separately.
- Technically, they're magazines, not books, but the One Piece Logs average 30 chapters and 700 pages. There's 16 so far and it's not gonna stop anytime soon.
- The Japanese-language single-volume collection of Death Note, which has 2400 pages and weighs ten pounds.
- Luis Felix Parodi Ortega's Encyclopedia of Perfection of Pianistic Technique has 62 volumes totaling nearly 18,000 pages at time of writing, and it seems like he is still working on it. Volumes range from 22 (Vols. 3 and 4) to 1452 (Vol. 50) pages.
- Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji is known for incredily long scores. According to the biography Opus Sorabjianum, the Symphony [no. 1] for Piano, Large Orchestra, Chorus, and Organ (300 A3 pages) weighs 4.5 kilograms, the Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra (540 A3 pages) is 8.6 kg for the main score (there is a small score for extra percussion parts), and the Messa grande sinfonica (1001 A3 pages, in three volumes) is eighteen kilos!
- Laurie Anderson's first Live Album, United States Live is five records long.
- Until 2010, Penguin published guides to recorded classical and jazz music. These informative tomes each consistently came in at well over 1500 pages.
- The Da Capo Catalog of Classical Music Compositions exhaustively catalogs the works of 132 major composers, and it comes in at almost 1400 pages.
- Franz Schubert: The Complete Songs started as liner notes to pianist Graham Johnson's 40-CD set of Franz Schubert's lieder. It eventually turned into a 3-volume, 3,000-page set that includes German and English texts of the songs, Johnson's analyses of each song, a chronology, relevant artwork, etc. - enough to keep any Schubert scholar occupied for weeks.
- Woodstock—Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive is an almost-complete collection of the entire 1969 festival,note released as a set of 38 CDs, in a limited edition of 1,969 copies.
- Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2018 catalogs every single song that charted on the Billboard pop charts between 1955 and 2018. The bulk of the book is an alphabetical listing of all 9,371 artists who appeared on the charts; a total of 46,487 songs are listed, which includes Hot 100 hits, Bubbling Under hits (which charted between 100 and 150), regional and territorial hits listed in Billboard, and classic non-hit songs. It includes a cross-reference by song title, a chronological listing of #1 songs, the top charted artists, and other lists. It all comes in a monster hardcover tome totalling 1,216 pages. It's a far cry from Whitburn's first survey of Billboard pop hits, which covered only the Top 40 hits between 1955 and 1969 and came in at a much slimmer 208-page softcover.
- For Clive Barker is a TWENTY-SIX HOUR piano piece that takes up more than a THOUSAND pages! And he PRINTED IT OUT
- Mick Foley's autobiography Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks is nearly 700 pages long. But that's not all - he has three more, Foley Is Good, The Hardcore Diaries and Countdown To Lockdown, all of which clock in at an average of 400 each. This in addition to his several original novels. He's credited with getting wrestling fans interested in reading when they weren't before.
- The Ultimate Millenium Falcon set by LEGO featured a 500-page ring-bound instruction manual that weighed four pounds.
- The set itself contained 5219 pieces and retailed for 500 US dollars.
- Instruction booklets for modern Lego sets seem longer in general. Compare, for example, SPII set #6984 (1992) with SPIII set #5984 (2010). Both have the same number of figurines, and about the same number of pieces, yet the instruction manual of the former set is 20 pages long while the latter has a 76-page manual, of which some pages are advertising.
- The play time for Fate/stay night is usually put at about three full days, so at least seventy hours of straight play time. And that's skipping scenes that occur in the multiple routes. In English, the total word count clocks in at a bit over a million words, counting all 3 routes.
- The sequel, Fate/hollow ataraxia, is also notoriously long. While the main story is straightforward enough, there are an awful lot of bonus scenes and similar things.
- And it is outdone by Dies Irae. All things included, one is looking at almost 75 hours worth of reading with some sources claiming it to be even longer than the King James Bible.
- Which is in turn outdone by CLANNAD, which can take several hundred hours to complete fully.
- Itself outdone by Rewrite, which is currently Key Visual Arts' longest one ever, beating even Clannad and Little Busters!.
- Umineko: When They Cry clocks at around a 6 MB text file for all Episodes — compare War and Peace which is around 3.2 MB worth of text. On the upside, the novel is pretty linear until the eighth Episode. Lampshaded in Episode 5 (out of 8):
Ronove: If you were to write down the unprecedented feats of Ushiromiya Kinzo, ......you would probably have an uproarious tale longer than all the grimoires in the study put together. It seems the tale of [the main character] will be worth writing down as well. In fact, it already is being written. It's already a very, very long tale.
- The Fruit of Grisaia: Reading through the entire novel will probably take a minimum of 50 hours.
- Digger is by itself over 750 pages long, and the omnibus edition adds many pages of extras making it 800 large and rather thick pages. The author says in one of her notes the irony of having produced this book while disliking Doorstopper fantasy novels.
- Homestuck is over 800,000 words long as of August 2015, which makes it longer than Les Misérables. Here are some helpful stats. As another estimate, Homestuck Book One is 162 book-pages, and encompasses Act 1 (which is 247 web-pages). If all of Homestuck, which is approx. 7600 web-pages and still ongoing, was converted into a book, it would be ca. 5000 book-pages. As noted below, there are also several in-universe examples.
- The Gunnerkrigg Court books aren't that long with less than 300 pages each. But the paper quality is so good that they're freakin' heavy.
- The Order of the Stick has passed 1000 strips long and has clocked in at six printed volumes with webcomic itself going into seventh, with one prequel volume for the heroes and villains each, and a non-canonical, just-for-fun collection of comics. For a current on-sale count of nine with tenth down the road.
- El Goonish Shive has been posting comics online since January of 2002. In that time, it has grown to be over 2600 comics long, and if you also count EGS:NP and the Sketchbook, then that's another thousand each. Dan only ever published 2 volumes in physical format each about 200 pages long. If he were to publish the rest it would run to over 20 volumes of that size and the comic is nowhere near its end.
- For the 20th anniversary of 8-Bit Theater, a crowdfunded book compiling the whole thing was announced. Considering reprinting a Sprite Comic is a legal nightmare, it is just the scripts, albeit with added commentary by the author. And considering the comic lasted 1,225 issues, the very limited physical edition is downright described as a "several pound bludgeoning weaponing of a book", over 300 pages - one update noted how much work involves not making it too long - and very large dimensions (8.5" wide x 13" tall, with a weight of over 3lbs \ 1.5kg!). Impressively, the majority of backers are ones who shelled out the $64+ to get the printed version.
- If the entirety of the Darwin's Soldiers RPs were to be printed out, it would take 400 pages to print out the second one and over 900 pages to print the final one.
- The Half-World MSTs were counted to be at ca. 200,000 words only after one year, which meant it was updating faster than Homestuck. However, he has both taken down many of these early MSTs and slowed down production of new ones.
- Koukon Bridge, on FictionPress is over two million words long and still unfinished. It hasn't updated since 2014, however.
- Similar to the FanFiction.Net example above, Writing.Com hosts many works (fanfiction, interactive, or original stories) that quickly amass 1000 chapters or more. Some have several thousand chapters and are less than 1 year old!
- The entire archive of Metamor Keep will be a huge one.
- The SCP Foundation administration once required new members to read all the SCP and Tale pages (each getting to typical short story length at the longest) aside from the site etiquette and how-to essays. After the number of SCP and Tale pages started reaching into the thousands, however, this policy changed to having members read enough pages (preferably including the highest rated SCPs) to get a good feel for the wiki. Statistics from October 2015 show that the total word count of all the SCP articles and Tales is nearly five million (and that's not counting over half a million words on other pages.)
- The Journal of Aframos Longjourney (introduction here) from The Wanderer's Library, at least by the standards of the site. It's well over 70 entries and still going, all describing the travels of the eponymous Longjourney.
- Worm comes in at 1.65 million words. For comparison to other series, that's longer than the entire Harry Potter series' 1.08 million words and only a bit shy of books 1-5 of A Song of Ice and Fire's 1.77 million words. More impressive than just the length of the series alone, the entire thing was published over the course of just over 2 years at the rate of at least two chapters a week for it's duration (compared to about 10 years in the case of Harry Potter and 15 in the case of A Song of Ice and Fire).
- Ward, Worm's sequel, has a whopping 1.94 million words.
- As of May 12, 2014 We Are All Pokémon Trainers is about 14,892 pages and counting, and text-only versions of single forum pages on the main thread alone can be in the range of 5-8 pages. A conservative estimate of the number of printed pages would be about 105,000 pages and counting.
- Cong Ling Kai Shi (Start From Zero) is a Chinese-language web novel that at its conclusion in March 2016 had 20.2 million characters subdivided into 23 volumes, each with anywhere between five and 565 chapters. Since one English word is roughly equivalent to 1.5 Chinese characters, this gives an estimated equivalent word count of over 13 million.
- Bringing the Farm to Live in Another World contained about 24 million characters as of August 2017. By September 2020 it was well past 35 million, largely due to uploading 3 chapters a day, putting it easily among the longest serialised pieces of fiction in any language.
- Chinese wuxia/xianxia web novels can get pretty long as well. Case in point:
- Coiling Dragon, which has just under 3.4 million Chinese characters. The English fan translation has yet to be counted.
- Desolate Era, by the same author, has 4.2 million, released over 26 months.
- Martial God Asura as of September 2017 had nearly 3200 chapters grouped into 8 volumes and totalling over 7.1 million characters.
- Copying and pasting every article and BUAFY from May 2016 to November 2016, including the headers, leads to a bigass 320,000 words - all in the span of six months, including the break Froge took in July. It's helpful to mention this was all made by one person as a personal project.
- Although a modest sum compared to other mediums, the 26,000-word count of The Froge Guide to Writing (which is more of a triad of advice than an actual guide) is huge compared to what you expect out of a typical blog. This was intentional, as he wanted to beat the word count of his Old Shame "The Industrial Steamworks", a 21,000 rant against Valve Software.
- Froge has been known to write thousands of words in the span of a day, such as the 5,300 word 10,000 Update Special being written in a single evening at the request of a fan.
When you see, for instance, me write 3,000 words in a single update, or write a massive BUAFY, or write 14 reviews of an anime over two weeks, then know that it isn't because of some magical otherworldly thing. It's all very human and very simple. I simply spend the time to do the thing, and so I do it. I get past all the negatives, I get past all the "what if I'm not good enough?" (which I haven't had in over six months), and I get past every fibre in my body that wants me to be a lazy shit and take a break and give up... and the net result is that I get a blog that just so happens to write more words than any other thing I have ever written.
- Re:Zero: the original web novel, which the light novel is based on, is 4,7 million words long across 6 arcs. and it's only halfway done
- The Wandering Inn is over 10.8 million words long as of December 2022. To add to the Archive Panic, it updates twice weekly with 20-30k words a chapter.
- First Contact, found on Reddit's HFY, started in March 2020; as of Feb 2021, there are 423 chapters, plus side-story chapters. Printed, this would be around 5000 pages, in excess of 1.3 million words. Keyboard go brrrrrrrt.
- Taerel Setting: Taerel wiki is over 2 million words in size, if it was pointed out it would be about 4444 pages if printed in 12-point, Arial font. That is a thick-ass book, that would be best carried in a backpack.
- Simpsons World: The Ultimate Episode Guide is a complete guide to the first twenty seasons of The Simpsons. At two pages per episodes (four for the Treehouse of Horror episodes), plus profiles on the family, a guide to the early shorts and Itchy and Scratchy shorts, analysis of every opening sequence, and complete lists of the Couch Gags, Homer saying d'oh and mmm, the Church of Springfield marquees, the Krusty merchandise, Troy McClure's roles, song lyrics, who voices every character (every character, even unnamed, one-line ones), and celebrity guest stars, plus a massive index, it clocks in at 1200 pages long, or 3.3 inches thick, and weighs 9 pounds. The intro calls it "the biggest, thickest, most-lethal-if-it-were-dropped-on-your-head companion to the show yet".
- Though Lonely Planet tour guides are usually devoted to either a single region/city in a large country (ie, "London," "The American Southwest") or a small country, they do occasionally publish more ambitious, comprehensive guides with a page count to match. Their guides to simply "Western Europe" and the "United States" are each over 1,000 pages, which does somewhat test the limit of "backpack friendly."
- The University of Leicester had the entire human genome printed as a collection of hardcover books. It runs to 130 volumes and cost a little under £4000 to produce.
- The hugest mathematical proof in history is the proof of the Classification Theorem of Finite Groups, which according to Mathworld is "spread throughout the mathematical literature and is estimated to be approximately 15000 pages in length". Thankfully, progress is being made on a more compact version of the proof, which as of 2016 takes up a mere 2140 pages or so across six volumes (but is not finished yet.)
- The lowly digits of A Million Random Digits With 100,000 Normal Deviates alone make the book 600 pages, but with the extensive foreword, this book is far larger and heavier than its contents can justify.
- Similarly, Googolplex Written Out is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, you can even buy a printed volume (though not all of it at once, for obvious reasons).
- Mitchell Heisman, who killed himself on Harvard University's campus, left a 1,904-page suicide note.
- Any Braille book rapidly becomes this. Standard bound Braille paper is about 11"x11" and double sided. To save space, Braille uses all sorts of contractions that print doesn't ('The' is one character, for example). Even with this, a 150 page 5"x7" paperback comes out to two volumes. A so-called pocket dictionary is 14 3" volumes, and a high-school textbook takes up an entire bookshelf and you'd better hope the teacher doesn't jump around a lot in one lesson. For obvious reasons, audiobooks and text-to-speech software are really popular in the blind community.
- Assassination Classroom:
- Koro-sensei hands each student a gigantic, super-detailed travel guide of Kyoto. It includes miscellaneous information such as maps, popular sightseeing sights, Kyoto's Top 100 souvenirs, what to do if a five-story pagoda collapses, coping with food that accidentally gets stuck in your throat, and "How to comfort yourself when seeing couples flirting by the Kamo river makes you feel lonely". The guide's contents eventually help the students track down and knock out the delinquents who kidnapped their friends.
- He later gives 3-E another guidebook for the ideal way to spend their summer break, which actually ends up longer than the Kyoto travel guide.
- In Final Fantasy: Lost Stranger, the Mysidia Royal Library is so huge that the map is a textbook thicker than Shogo's skuil and heavier than an Ultimania.
- Rebuild World: As part of the contract writing process, Alpha says that the instruction manual would take more than 120 years to recite. She uses this as justification to skip over it the way many online programs let you check off instead of reading the painfully dense terms and conditions, leaving Akira in the dark about what exactly he's agreeing to.
- Garfield: April 28, 2008:
Jon: This is my new cell phone.
Jon: [holding enormous book] And this is the manual for it.
Garfield: "Volume One."
- In one chapter of How the Tantabus Parses Sleep, Twilight, Starlight, and Sunburst conduct a study on Moondog and chronicle their findings for Luna. The size of the end result becomes a Running Gag; it has to be mailed to Luna in a shipping container, its table of contents alone is big enough to require its own table of contents, a single copy takes up two entire shelving units in a library, and it takes up over nine hundred megabytes when transferred onto an ereader.
- That Others May Tinker: Taylor prefers novels long enough to really see what the author decided to include vs leave out. Her rule of thumb is, "Basically, if I could use a hardback version of the book as a weapon for home defense, I'll probably enjoy it."
- In The Peanuts Movie, Charlie Brown wants to pick a good book for his report, and is told that the greatest book ever written is War and Peace. Judging by the book's appearance in the movie, it's also the largest book ever written.
- In Wonder Boys, Michael Douglas' character, Grady Tripp has been working on a book for years. Despite setting out to write one 250-300 pages in length, he has been writing on it continuously and the total number of pages ranges in the 2000s.
James Leer: "Is... all of that single-space?"
- In Inspector Gadget (1999), there is the humongous manual to Gadget's new cyborg body. And that's just Volume One...
- In Speed Racer, Royalton Industries' racing contract document is this, without any covers. It's thousands of pages long, arranged in four stacks placed on a table.
- In Adrian Mole, early drafts of his novel Lo! The Flat Hills of my Homeland are over seven hundred pages long. He tries to fax it to the BBC, clogging up their fax machine for eight hours.
- In Anathem the punishment device simply known as "The Book", an extremely lengthy... well, book, containing mostly mathematic proofs. Avout who violate the rules can be sentenced to study and memorize several chapters. Its length is not the only horrible thing about it, it's written in a way that the internal logic of the chapters is subtly wrong. The first chapter consists of nursery rhymes that don't quite rhyme. The second chapter is several hundred digits of pi. It only goes downhill from there.
- The Baroque Cycle — itself a doorstopper — has a character use the Cryptonomicon to hold a door open.
- Ann M. Martin, in her first published book Bummer Summer, mentions the protagonist's father reading an unidentified book that was one of these because it "must have weighed thirty-five pounds". Said protagonist later mentions she's learned some important things from him, one of which is "Never read anything you can't lift".
- In-Universe; Augustine's Confessions spares some ink mocking the Manichees for covering up the flaws of their false philosophies inside their many, many massive tomes.
- In The Fault in Our Stars, An Imperial Affliction is stated to be over six hundred pages long.
- Guards! Guards!: A book entitled The Laws and Ordinances of Ankh and Morpork is large and heavy enough to put a man off-balance and cause a fatal misstep when Carrot misinterprets Captain Vimes' command.
- Harry Potter:
- Harry and Ron are shocked that Hermione refers to A History of Magic as "light reading".
[Hermione drops the book on a table with a thud]
Ron: This... is light?
- Rita Skeeter's "The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore" is 900 pages long.
- Harry and Ron are shocked that Hermione refers to A History of Magic as "light reading".
- In The Heroes of Olympus, a harpy holds a library door open with a copy of War and Peace in the second book.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
- The microfiche version of the Ultra-Complete Maximegalon Dictionary of Every Language Ever requires a fleet of lorries to transport.
- The eponymous Guide would require several large buildings to store if it were ever printed on paper instead of stored electronically.
- The rules for Brockian Ultra Cricket are so intricate and convoluted that, the only time they were printed, the book collapsed under its own weight and became a black hole.
- Parodied in Men at Arms, when the Librarian responds to a dwarf digging into the library by reaching for a 3000-page book called How to Kille Insects (sic). The good news is the dwarf was wearing a helmet. The bad news is, said helmet is now stuck on his head.
- Monday Begins on Saturday has the Book of Fates, containing the brief biographies of 73,619,024,511 intelligent beings. In the late 18th century (with a three century backlog), the editorial board switched to shortened editions with birth and death dates only, and even that, by the time of the book's events, has eight tomes of errata by itself (incomplete: the narrator's death year of 1611 is not included).
- The Myth-O-Mania series kicks off after Hades receives The Big Fat Book of Greek Myths from The Big Fat Book of the Month Club. As he reads it, he discovers that Zeus rewrote all the stories to glorify himself and his spawn, motivating him to create some novels explaining how the tales really went.
- The Pale King's mandatory reading materials for the IRS employment applicants certainly do qualify.
- Paris in the Twentieth Century has a three-meter-tall ledger used by the accounting department (the rise of the personal computer was not one of the aspects of modern life Jules Verne predicted).
- Deke McClelland's Photoshop 3 Bible doesn't quite reach this status (having about 800-900 pages depending on edition), but in its foreword, the reader is warned that the book shouldn't be put into the baggage compartment on an airplane in order to avoid damage to some other luggage and that it shouldn't be used in self-defense unless the opponent has an equally hefty weapon.
- Grady Tripp's long-delayed novel (3000+ pages and nowhere near finished) in Wonder Boys.
- Isaac Asimov's The Caves of Steel: In-Universe, the Handbook of Robotics has undergone so many revisions, additions, and emendations in the several millennia it's been in print, that a hard-copy of it would be impossible for an ordinary person to carry unassisted. Fortunately, in the 47th century, most books are printed on microfilm.
- The Eagle Tree: In "Holy Trinity," March's uncle buys him the real-life reference guide Lichens of North America, which is thicker than March's arm.
- The unpublished Stephen Colbert's Alpha Squad 7: Lady Nocturne: A Tek Jansen Adventure is an extremely hefty paperback in the style of men's adventure pulp novels. Thankfully, the book exists only within the warped reality of The Colbert Report.
- Game of Thrones:
- The Lineages and Histories of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms, With Descriptions of Many High Lords and Noble Ladies and Their Children is just as much a door stopper as the name implies. Even the notoriously long-winded Grand Maester Pycelle calls it ponderous.
- The Book of Brothers contains the service record of every Kingsguard to serve since its inception three hundred years ago.
- Tyrion's wedding gift to Joffrey is Lives of Four Kings, a history of four Targaryen kings the size of a phone book.
- Parodied in Man to Man with Dean Learner, where horror author Garth Marenghi advertises a compilation novel, 'Garth Marenghi's The Oeuvre'', of all 436 of his books, in a reinforced spine made from genuine cat bone. It looks less like one giant book and more like a tower of books fused together. It's actually so large it comes with poles to hold it while you read, and even comes with brackets to mount it on the wall for storage.
- One episode of WKRP in Cincinnati revolves around the station's (ultimately destroyed) commercial for a chain of funeral homes. The owner of the chain comes in for a meeting and hands Andy a copy of what he calls a "brochure". It's hardbound, and the size of a large photo album.
Andy Travis: Heavy.
Mr. Ferryman: In my business, people want heavy.
- On the Castle episode, "The Fifth Bullet," it's noted that a character was saved from a bullet because he was holding a copy of Crime and Punishment.
Keving Ryan: Good thing he reads Russian literature. If the guy was a Nicholas Sparks fan, he'd be dead.
- A running joke in the detention segments of You Can't Do That on Television, was students being asked to copy huge segments of a large dictionary — a prop which was obviously several dictionaries glued together.
- The Good Place: Chidi's life's work is a 3600-page book that tries to encompass the entirety of ethics and human morality. For reference, Aristotle's "Nichomachean Ethics", considered one of the definitive works on the subject, doesn't even clear 200, and the only other books of any genres that are longer are all series with multiple volumes. Michael, a near-omniscient supernatural being who can read all of the world's literature in an hour, had given up on reading it part way through because it was incredibly convoluted and makes no forking sense.
- On the Gamera Vs Barugon episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Dr. Forrester asks Frank to pick him up some light summer reading for his trip. Frank decides to get the uncut version of Stephen King's The Stand, which is so massive Dr. F can't hold it up and falls over.
- The title book from Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is about the size of the unabridged Lord of the Rings...and is a choose your own adventure book! The film is about a guy going mad trying to adapt it into a video game.
- In Doctor Who, the TARDIS Manual certinly qualifies. Not that the Doctor ever really reads it (the 11th Docor threw it into a supernova after disagreeing with it once too often), but at least one volume (possibly the "Quick Start Guide") has 726 pages, and it's mentioned in an audio adventure that the entirity of the manual has it's own street in the TARDIS.
- In "Let X = X," Laurie Anderson has this:
You know, I could write a book.
And this book
Would be thick enough
To stun an ox.
- Neil Young once stopped a classroom bully with one of these. He asked the teacher if he could borrow the unabridged dictionary, then walked past the bully and dropped it on his head. Said bully hadn't even been harassing him, but another kid in the class.
- Parodied in a MAD back cover; "The Super Thick Book Of The Month Club", which features books that really serve only one function; to impress people.
- An artifact in Dungeons & Dragons, the Codex of the Infinite Planes, a giant book containing detailed knowledge about the other dimensions in the cosmology, the reading of which can drive people mad. It requires the strength of two men to lift. The book is literally infinite in length. (Well, one can only assume that's true. Certainly, anyone who has tried to read it long enough to find the last page has been struck dead, gone mad, or worse by its evil power before succeeding.)
- The Dwarfs bring us the Great Book of Grudges. To Dwarfs, seeking revenge is essentially a religious sacrament, and the Book is their way of documenting every slight against the Dwarfen people. the Warhammer universe being what it is, the book is of course insanely long. It's implied that the book is a magical object that is literally endless.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- The "Tactica Imperium", which contains various amounts of tidbits, from battlefield tactics to command structures of various organizations to how you should request higher levels of ordinance to the exact listings of every single one of your superiors, in order, up to the High Lords of Terra. The reason the information varies so much is because any given sub-sector, if not PLANET, has its own version which is constantly being updated and modified: any given complete collection would outstrip the Library of Congress, a "portable" version would make the Encyclopedia Britannica seem like a pamphlet, and the "bare minimum" that would ever be found in a command tent could double as protection from a boltgun.
- The Horus Heresy introduces us to the Book of Magnus and the Book of Lorgar. While the individual "books" of Magnus's opus are described as HUGE, we're never told how many volumes there are. The Book of Lorgar, on the other hand, is described as being hundreds of volumes long, and he plans on giving copies to each of his traitor brothers. One wonders when they would find the time to read them.
- Roboute Guilliman's Codex Astartes, which he wrote in an attempt to predict every possible battlefield situation and how Space Marines should act in such situations, and also covers such subjects as unit markings and launching planetary invasions. Certain chapters consider the Codex to be holy scripture and have their initiates memorize sections of it, impressive considering that some sections are hundreds of pages long. It is comprised of four volumes, 3ft tall and 1 foot thick.
- Twilight Sparkle's Secret Shipfic Folder is not in and of itself a doorstopper. However, the flavor text references various in-universe works of Twilight, and one of the most commonly referenced is Of Ponies And Peril which has at least 128 chapters and required a flow chart at one point.
- The "Very Holy Book" in Munchkin comes with a cart to move it around in, and is almost as tall as the priest carting it around. Given the nature of the game, it is probably used to whack monsters over the head with.
- It could be assumed that higher-level magic tomes (particularly Dark/Elder magic ones) in the Fire Emblem games could be an in-game example, since the weight of an equipped weapon (be it sword, axe, lance, bow or tome) may impact on the wielder's speed stat, which affects factors such as their dodge rate and whether or not they can attack twice (all depending on the character's constitution, or physical size). For instance, Canas, your only allied dark magic wielder in Fire Emblem 7, has a base constitution stat of 8, and the strongest tome he can equip (Gespenst) has a weight stat of 20, meaning that, if equipped, his speed stat will be reduced by 12 in battle, which is nearly half of his theoretical maximum speed. To put it this way, the BFS Durandal has a weight of 16 and the massive axe Armads has 18. Gespent beats them both. In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, there's another tome, Gleipnir, just as heavy as Gespenst. The wielder would probably deal more damage throwing it at the enemies!
- Lezard Valeth from Valkyrie Profile refers to the Philosopher's Stone as "a ten billion page codex". That is a pretty massive book.
- In Dragon Age II, take a look at Bethany's sleeping area (if you are Warrior!Hawke or Rogue!Hawke, not sure about Mage!Hawke). There's a book that you can examine for a codex update. The book is enormous - it's not a coffee table book, it IS the coffee table.
- In the game Floor 13, when you assassinate an Albanian troublemaker, his thousand-page book wouldn't be published, saving a few trees and improving the popularity of the Prime Minister.
- Played with in Mass Effect: Andromeda. During one side task, Ryder gets a full copy of Angaran law, which is well over 5000 pages, but it's provided in the form of an ordinary datapad.
- Future Histoire of Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory mentions that a plot-relevant function is located on page 141,006 of her user's manual. It's assumed that there are many, many more pages, considering it took her three days using her index to find the information in the first place.
- In Dragon Quest VIII, there exists a book that, if Hero should pick it up, rather than giving an excerpt of its content reads "This book is so weighty Hero's arms begin to tire from holding it."
- In Borderlands 2 Sir Hammerlock can be heard advertising his Almanac, which will either teach you how to stop a Stalker (by informing you of their vulnerable mouths) or let you stop a Stalker by throwing the literal book at it. Apparently, Hammerlock ensured that there are enough pages to knock one out stone cold on contact!
- In Paper Mario: Color Splash, you can find a really thick book titled "The Internet (Print Edition)" on the shelves at Dark Bloo Inn.
- Parodied in Darths & Droids with the rulebook for grappling being (apparently) so large they actually comment on the size.
- Homestuck, in addition to making a hefty book by itself, contains several in-universe and in-in-universe examples as well:
- John's unabridged copy of "Colonel Sassacre's Daunting Text of Magical Frivolty and Practical Japery" is described as being big enough to kill a cat if dropped on it. His Nanna died in an incident involving an unabridged version of said book, a ladder, and a meteor. The book also kills a Shale Imp when it's accidentally dropped at one point. And it does eventually end up falling on and killing Jaspers while he is in the Alpha universe.
- Another Doorstopper is seen later, this time a guide for the "~ATH" programming language.
- More doorstoppers appear in a Show Within a Show Within A Show "Complacency of the Learned". "Complacency" itself is a doorstopper series, and a stack of six books is half the height of Roxy's sprite or roughly half a meter. While in those books, Frigglish is cursed to write out his knowledge by Calmasis, which becomes quite incomprehensible, and Calmasis ends up killing Frigglish with his own books. For an added bit of irony, Jaspers, who ended up being killed by Colonel Sassacre's book, was renamed Frigglish by Roxy.
- Crossover Wars: Scale's armor has a rather heavy manual.
- Mentioned in a Nodwick comic where Artax uses a Robert Jordan novel as a bludgeon.
- Goblins had a cutaway gag strip to an Alternate Universe known as the Rothfuss reality.
Alternate-Universe-Complains-of-Names: Wait, this isn't a brick, it's a book.
Alternate-Universe-Fumbles: "Sequel to The Name of The Wind". Hey Dies, isn't that the book you're... um... wearing?
- Mentioned in A Game of Roleplay where it is remarked that the backstory for A Song of Ice and Fire is larger than a cat.
- Which makes sense considering the books combined length.
- Neopets often has very large books that fit this trope, often with a spine that is comically taller than the cover's height, for example this Big Book of Verb Conjugation.
- Carmilla the Series: The student handbook at Silas University is 700 pages long. Which Laura did not read. She used it as a doorstop.
- If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: The Book of Judgement is already ridiculously huge, and grows at an even more ridiculous rate every day until the Emperor outright outlaws the drafting of new laws to put a hasty end to it. Rogal Dorn's severely outdated copy already has a spine bigger than he is, and he occasionally uses it as a support beam for his various forts. This carries some unnerving implications, considering the parchment in that one is human skin.
- The Simpsons:
- In "Itchy and Scratchy the Movie", Bart throws "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie: The Book" in a full trash can. The book promptly crushes all the trash beneath it until it's lying almost at the bottom.
- Parodied in "Smoke on the Daughter" in which an "Angelica Button" book leaves an indent in asphalt when thrown out a car window.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
Twilight Sparkle: This is the most complete...
- In "The Crystal Empire", Twilight has a copy of "The Magical Compendium, Volumes 1-36", it's as big as a door and true to the bit in the intro about "being able to crush small children", her young dragon assistant, Spike, is indeed crushed underneath it when he attempts to catch it.
- In "Testing, Testing, 1 2 3", Twilight Sparkle presents Rainbow Dash with a huge book while helping her study for the written portion of the entrance exam to the Wonderbolt Reserves.
Rainbow Dash: And ginormous!
Twilight Sparkle: ...book on the history of the Wonderbolts.
- The Season Eight opener, "School Daze pt. 1", we're introduced to the EEA, a governing body that oversees the schools in Equestria. Their rule book is enourmous. When Twilight realizes that she can't, and shouldn't, rely on the EEA for her Friendship school, she writes her own rulebook that makes the EEA's look puny by comparison.
- In The Smurfs (1981) episode "Calling Dr. Smurf", Brainy gave Smurfette an autographed copy of Quotations of Brainy Smurf 20th Edition, which was a pretty heavy book for Smurfette to carry.
- The Spongebob Squarepants episode "Grandma's Kisses" had a scene where Spongebob's grandmother reads Patrick a small children's book. In contrast, she gives Spongebob a book that's almost as tall as he is.
- In Time Squad, the Chinese philosopher Confucius was writing long-winded books that were so huge and heavy that you could break the ground with them.
- In Walt Disney Presents "Inside Outer Space", Ludwig von Drake presents his really large book about space with the same name.
Ludwig: The way things are going, you better get your copy right away before they become obsolete, and the prices go up.