How Long Does It Take To Read the Dune Series?

With the recent release of the Dune movie, interest in this iconic sci-fi book series has increased. You might want to read the series before more movies are released, so how long will it take to finish the entire series?

Considering an average reading rate of 250 words per minute, it would take approximately 60 hours to finish reading the original Dune Series. Assuming you spend three hours reading every day, this would work out to approximately three weeks (20 days) to finish all six books.

The rest of this article will explain a bit about each book in the series and how long it’ll take to read all of them.

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Average Time Needed To Read the Dune Series

The Dune series is a science fiction series written by Frank Herbert. The first book was released in 1968, and five sequels were published over the next two decades. Unfortunately, Frank Herbert passed away in 1986, leaving behind Dune, which had become a science fiction phenomenon by then.

His son, Brian Herbert, found some partial notes on the last two planned instalments and co-authored the two sequel books in the series with Kevin J. Anderson. These were released in the 2000s.

The Dune series is a particularly difficult and intense read for many readers. Although it has become an important part of literature, the book itself can be slow and hard to follow. As a result, you’ll likely spend more time on it than on the average fictional novel.

According to a study by Marc Brysbaert at Ghent University, the average reading speed of adults is 250-260 words per minute for fiction. It would take approximately 60 hours to finish the entire series at this rate. However, keeping in mind the difficult nature of the book, it can take up to 80-90 hours to finish the series at a slower pace.

Time Needed To Read Each Book in the Dune Series

The Dune Series has a total of 21 books, with a 22nd book yet to be released. Out of these, six books written by the original author Frank Herbert are considered the main books in the storyline. The remaining books consist of prequels, sequels, and a few side storylines. Most of these ‘extra’ books were written by his son Brian Herbert and another sci-fi writer Kevin J. Anderson, based on partial notes left behind by Frank Herbert.

For a more in-depth look at the books in the Dune Series, you can check out this article: How Many Dune Books Are There?

The Dune books are quite long, averaging 150,000 words per book. I have considered the approximate word count of the books, their difficulty level, and the average adult’s reading speed to give a rough estimate of how long it would take to finish reading each one. Let’s take a look.

*Note: The following books are available on 


The first book in the series, Dune, contains approximately 180,000-190,000 words. It is considered a fairly difficult read, so speed-reading it is not advised.

According to The Guardian, speed reading is suitable only for official documents or online information, but when applied to literature, you skim over important contextual parts. Thus, despite many avid readers having a high reading rate of 450+ words per minute, I’m going to assume a lower average of 250 words per minute, taking into account the difficulty level of Dune.

Based on that estimated reading rate, it would take approximately 12-13 hours to finish reading Dune. The Dune audiobook is around 21 hours long.

Dune Messiah

Dune Messiah, the second instalment of this series, is a much shorter book at 70,000-80,000 words. However, like all of the books in this series, it is also difficult to follow, so I’m taking into consideration an average reading speed of 250 words per minute.

At 250 words per minute, it would take approximately four and half and five and a half hours to finish Dune Messiah. The Dune Messiah audiobook is almost nine hours long.

Children of Dune

Children of Dune is the third book in the series with a total word count of approximately 150,000 words.

At the average reading speed of 250 words per minute, this book would take approximately ten hours to finish. However, this is just an estimate. Depending on your reading speed, it might take more or less time than I have mentioned.

The Children of Dune audiobook is almost 17 hours long.

God Emperor of Dune

The fourth book in this instalment, God Emperor of Dune, is approximately 130,000-150,000 words long. The book’s first edition was almost 500 pages long, with approximately 300 words per page. However, user reports have mentioned anything from 116,000 to 180,000 words, so the number given here is an average.

At 250 words per minute, it would take approximately eight and a half to ten hours to finish this book. The God Emperor of Dune audiobook is almost 16 hours long.

Heretics of Dune

Although the exact word count for this book is not available, Heretics of Dune is estimated to be around 140,000-160,000 words long. This is the fifth book in the series.

Based on the average reading rate of 250 words per minute, it would take approximately nine to 11 hours to finish reading Heretics of Dune. The audiobook for Heretics of Dune is just over 18 hours long.

Chapterhouse: Dune

The final instalment in the original series by Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune, is an epic ending to the series.

At approximately 140,000-160,000 words, this book would take around nine to 11 hours to finish. The given estimate is based on the average reading speed of 250 words per minute, so it may differ based on your reading speed.

The Chapterhouse: Dune audiobook is almost 17 hours long.


According to research, college students and educated adults can read at an average speed of 450+ words per minute. However, for hard-to-read fiction like the Dune series, the average reading speed comes down to approximately 250 words per minute.

Based on this data and the estimated word count of the Dune books, we can guess the time needed to read the series:

  • Dune: 12-13 hours
  • Dune Messiah: 4.5-5.5 hours
  • Children of Dune: 10 hours
  • God Emperor of Dune: 8.5-10 hours
  • Heretics of Dune: 9-11 hours
  • Chapterhouse: Dune: 9-11 hours
  • Full series: approximately 60 hours

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