We're now more accurate than ever! Based on a user's suggestion, we're now using the number of minutes for the associated audiobook as the basis for our calculation. And it works well. Of course, how fast the narrator talks does have an impact, but for the most part, the number of words per minute is consistent. My algorithm does adjust though based on how long or short a book is because the longer the book, the more chapters, and more chapters means more pauses, which means less words per minute.
How accurate are the calculations? Let's take a look at a few examples. The actual word count for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is 78,792 and my utility calculates 77,876. The Hunger Games has a word count of 99,750 and my utility calculates it at 98,916. For the book Hatchet, the actual word count is 41,672 and I give you 41,212. Pretty impressive! Are they all that accurate? Many, yes, but there are exceptions due to slower speaking narrators. For example, Twilight has a word count of 118,975 and my utility comes up with 107,254. So it'll be off on occasion, but it still works well for the average book. Still, if you have any feedback I'd love to hear it. You can reach me through my Contact page.
If you're new to the site and wondering how the old calculation worked, here you go: Using the goodreads' API, I created an algorithm using a book's page count, associated genres, the order of those genres, and published date to come up with the approximate word count. It worked well, but just not as accurate as the new method.
And if you're only looking for a few examples from a particular genre, the word counts for other books listed on this site have also been verified. Word Count Ranges by Genre is a good place to start.
Once upon a time Amazon offered "text stats" for a majority of their books, which included word count. Although Amazon stopped offering this for new books several years ago, the feature still remained for older books. Unfortunately, Amazon recently removed that feature as well. I suppose it just wasn't as important as Alexa. Now, Amazon and goodreads do offer services that allow programmers to pull book data, such as title, author, number of pages, etc., but neither offers word count. But as I mentioned above, Amazon does offer running time for audiobooks. Yay!
AR Book Finder is a great resource for writers, despite the fact that we're not actually the target audience. If you've never visited the site, you'll be asked if you're a Student, Parent, Teacher or Librarian when first arriving. I consider myself a student of life, so I selected student and continued on. I suspect you're a student of life too, so perhaps you should choose the same. From this point, search for your book, click on the title within the list of results, and on the following page you'll find the book's word count. Unfortunately they don't have all books, but they do have the most popular ones. So we got that going for us; which is nice.