# How many books would fit into a modern solid state drive?

James Joyces’ *Ulysses* (a famously long book) contains 265,000 words

Formatted as a simple Word document without images it occupies 1.66 MB on my hard drive.

So, dividing 250 Gigabytes by 1.6 Megabytes*: 250,000,000,000 ÷ 1,660,000 *

gives the answer: = **150,600 copies of Ulysses** would fit onto the 250GB SSD

Let’s try to picture that:

**Weight**

One copy of this nice Folio edition weighs 3.5 kg

Therefore that makes a total of 527,108 kg = **518 UK tons **(about 100 elephants) fitting in the SSD

**Shelf Space**

One copy is 5 cm thick

That makes a total of 753,000 cm = **7.53 km** of shelf space

**Area of Paper**

This Folio edition of *Ulysses* has 735 pages, each measuring 18 × 23.3 cm, that is 419.4 cm² (0.4194 m²)

0.4194 m² × 734 pages makes a total of 308 m² of typescript per copy (halved if you use both sides)

Therefore – Total area of paper required for the number of copies which would fit into the little SSD drive = **46,423,805 m²**

There are one million square metres in one square kilometre, therefore it would require **46.4 km² of paper** to store that amount of text.

That is a square 6.8 km on each side.

Here is a square of that size over central London (the fine grid lines on OS maps – just visible here – are 1km apart)

Wow! Or as the grandchildren would say, ‘awesome’.

Another person given to idle thoughts as the rains come down -we are sorting childrens’ scrapbook material from the last 30 years!!

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These thoughts are not idle, John!! Perish the thought.

Actually, I tried it on some of the grandchildren this morning and they admitted it was hard to picture, but they still take these wonders somewhat for granted.

I suppose we take for granted the wonder that is a fruit fly, but the changes in memory storage (while battery technology has remained pretty static) are surely among the greatest wonders of the modern world.

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The mind literally boggles!! Thank you for adding the elephants, I was about to give up at that point!

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Elephants are always popular. But they vary from 2 to 6 tons, so it’s hardly exact!

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