Book Scraper

Quite possibly a waste of time, but at least one with some spurious literary credentials, so you don’t feel as though you’ve really been a slacker, because it’s words, innit.

Welcome to Book Scraper, a tool The Times has created to let you explore some of the world’s most famous books.

We have created a database of 126 classic publications by 53 authors. They contain 12,817,682 words in total, and have a combined vocabulary of 105,836 words.

Book Scraper lets you explore them in different ways.

You can search by author and learn, for instance, that Shakespeare’s written vocabulary was in the order of 24,000 words.

You can search by publication, and discover that the longest word in Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is pectinibranchidae, which is 17 characters long. (It’s a type of mollusc.)

Or you can type in a word, and Book Scraper will chart its use across time. (The word thunderer has been used in 6 books in our database, the first mention being in Don Quixote – some 200 years before it became the Times’ nickname.)

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About Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.


  1. Useful for Structuralists perhaps?

    Now Lovecraft scholars can finally find out if HPL’s favourite adjective really WAS “ichorous” or actually “eldritch” or “cyclopean”

    Reminds me of something from “If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller” by Calvino – the mass analysis of literary texts via computer…

  2. I never thought of the fun you could have looking up Lovecraft; despite constantly tripping up over his prose, he did use some wild language.