A book is a series of pages assembled for easy portability and
reading, as well as the composition contained in it. The book's most
common modern form is that of a codex volume consisting of rectangular
paper pages bound on one side, with a heavier cover and spine, so that
it can fan open for reading. Books have taken other forms, such as
scrolls, leaves on a string, or strips tied together; and the pages
have been of parchment, vellum, papyrus, bamboo slips, palm leaves,
silk, wood, and other materials.
The contents of books are also called books, as are other compositions
of that length. For instance, Aristotle's Physics, the constituent
sections of the Bible, and even the Egyptian
Book of the Dead
Book of the Dead are
called books independently of their physical form. Conversely, some
long literary compositions are divided into books of varying sizes,
which typically do not correspond to physically bound units. This
tradition derives from ancient scroll formats, where long works needed
several scrolls. Where very long books in codex format still need to
be physically divided, the term volume is now normally used. Books may
be distributed in electronic form as e-books and other formats. A
UNESCO conference in 1964 attempted to define a book for library
purposes as "a non-periodical printed publication of at least
forty-nine pages, exclusive of cover pages". A single sheet within
a codex book is a leaf, and each side of a leaf is a page. Writing or
images can be printed or drawn on a book's pages.
In library and information science, a monograph is a book of one or
more volumes which is not a serial such as a magazine, journal, or
newspaper. An avid reader or collector of books or a book lover is a
bibliophile or colloquially, "bookworm". A shop where books are bought
and sold is a bookshop or bookstore. Books are also sold elsewhere.
Books can also be borrowed from libraries.
Google has estimated that
as of 2010, approximately 130,000,000 distinct titles had been
published. In some wealthier nations, the sale of printed books has
decreased because of the use of e-books, though sales of e-books
declined in the first half of 2015.
2.1.5 Middle East
Wood block printing
Movable type and incunabula
2.2 19th century to 21st centuries
3 Modern manufacturing
4 Digital printing
7.1 By content
7.1.3 Other types
7.2 Decodable readers and leveled books
7.3 By physical format
9 Identification and classification
9.1 Classification systems
11.1 Other forms of secondary spread
11.2 Evolution of the book industry
Paper and conservation
13 See also
16 Further reading
17 External links
The word book comes from
Old English "bōc", which in turn comes from
the Germanic root "*bōk-", cognate to "beech". Similarly, in
Slavic languages (for example, Russian, Bulgarian, Macedonian)
"буква" (bukva—"letter") is cognate with "beech". In Russian
and in Serbian and Macedonian, the word "букварь" (bukvar') or
"буквар" (bukvar) refers specifically to a primary school
textbook that helps young children master the techniques of reading
and writing. It is thus conjectured that the earliest Indo-European
writings may have been carved on beech wood. Similarly, the Latin
word codex, meaning a book in the modern sense (bound and with
separate leaves), originally meant "block of wood".
Main article: History of books
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Sumerian clay tablet, currently housed in the Oriental Institute at
the University of Chicago, inscribed with the text of the poem Inanna
and Ebih by the priestess Enheduanna, the first author whose name is
When writing systems were created in ancient civilizations, a variety
of objects, such as stone, clay, tree bark, metal sheets, and bones,
were used for writing; these are studied in epigraphy.
Clay tablet and Wax tablet
See also: Stylus
A tablet is a physically robust writing medium, suitable for casual
transport and writing. Clay tablets were flattened and mostly dry
pieces of clay that could be easily carried, and impressed with a
stylus. They were used as a writing medium, especially for writing in
cuneiform, throughout the
Bronze Age and well into the Iron Age. Wax
tablets were pieces of wood covered in a thick enough coating of wax
to record the impressions of a stylus. They were the normal writing
material in schools, in accounting, and for taking notes. They had the
advantage of being reusable: the wax could be melted, and reformed
into a blank.
The custom of binding several wax tablets together (Roman pugillares)
is a possible precursor of modern bound (codex) books. The
etymology of the word codex (block of wood) also suggests that it may
have developed from wooden wax tablets.
Main article: Scroll
Egyptian papyrus showing the god
Osiris and the weighing of the heart.
Scrolls can be made from papyrus, a thick paper-like material made by
weaving the stems of the papyrus plant, then pounding the woven sheet
with a hammer-like tool until it is flattened.
Papyrus was used for
writing in Ancient Egypt, perhaps as early as the First Dynasty,
although the first evidence is from the account books of King
Nefertiti Kakai of the
Fifth Dynasty (about 2400 BC). Papyrus
sheets were glued together to form a scroll. Tree bark such as lime
and other materials were also used.
Herodotus (History 5:58), the
Phoenicians brought writing
and papyrus to Greece around the 10th or 9th century BC. The Greek
word for papyrus as writing material (biblion) and book (biblos) come
from the Phoenician port town Byblos, through which papyrus was
exported to Greece. From Greek we also derive the word tome
(Greek: τόμος), which originally meant a slice or piece and from
there began to denote "a roll of papyrus". Tomus was used by the
Latins with exactly the same meaning as volumen (see also below the
explanation by Isidore of Seville).
Whether made from papyrus, parchment, or paper, scrolls were the
dominant form of book in the Hellenistic, Roman, Chinese, Hebrew, and
Macedonian cultures. The more modern codex book format form took over
the Roman world by late antiquity, but the scroll format persisted
much longer in Asia.
A Chinese bamboo book meets the modern definition of Codex
Main article: Codex
Isidore of Seville
Isidore of Seville (died 636) explained the then-current relation
between codex, book and scroll in his Etymologiae (VI.13): "A codex is
composed of many books; a book is of one scroll. It is called codex by
way of metaphor from the trunks (codex) of trees or vines, as if it
were a wooden stock, because it contains in itself a multitude of
books, as it were of branches." Modern usage differs.
A codex (in modern usage) is the first information repository that
modern people would recognize as a "book": leaves of uniform size
bound in some manner along one edge, and typically held between two
covers made of some more robust material. The first written mention of
the codex as a form of book is from Martial, in his Apophoreta CLXXXIV
at the end of the first century, where he praises its compactness.
However, the codex never gained much popularity in the pagan
Hellenistic world, and only within the Christian community did it gain
widespread use. This change happened gradually during the 3rd and
4th centuries, and the reasons for adopting the codex form of the book
are several: the format is more economical, as both sides of the
writing material can be used; and it is portable, searchable, and easy
to conceal. A book is much easier to read, to find a page that you
want, and to flip through. A scroll is more awkward to use. The
Christian authors may also have wanted to distinguish their writings
from the pagan and Judaic texts written on scrolls. In addition, some
metal books were made, that required smaller pages of metal, instead
of an impossibly long, unbending scroll of metal. A book can also be
easily stored in more compact places, or side by side in a tight
library or shelf space.
Main article: Manuscript
Folio 14 recto of the 5th century
Vergilius Romanus contains an author
portrait of Virgil. Note the bookcase (capsa), reading stand and the
text written without word spacing in rustic capitals.
Codex Amiatinus anachronistically depicts the Biblical
the kind of books used in the 8th Century AD.
The fall of the
Roman Empire in the 5th century A.D. saw the decline
of the culture of ancient Rome.
Papyrus became difficult to obtain due
to lack of contact with Egypt, and parchment, which had been used for
centuries, became the main writing material.
Parchment is a material
made from processed animal skin and used—mainly in the past—for
Parchment is most commonly made of calfskin, sheepskin, or
goatskin. It was historically used for writing documents, notes, or
the pages of a book.
Parchment is limed, scraped and dried under
tension. It is not tanned, and is thus different from leather. This
makes it more suitable for writing on, but leaves it very reactive to
changes in relative humidity and makes it revert to rawhide if overly
Monasteries carried on the Latin writing tradition in the Western
Roman Empire. Cassiodorus, in the monastery of Vivarium (established
around 540), stressed the importance of copying texts. St.
Benedict of Nursia, in his
Rule of Saint Benedict
Rule of Saint Benedict (completed around
the middle of the 6th century) later also promoted reading. The
Rule of Saint Benedict
Rule of Saint Benedict (Ch. XLVIII), which set aside certain times for
reading, greatly influenced the monastic culture of the Middle Ages
and is one of the reasons why the clergy were the predominant readers
of books. The tradition and style of the
Roman Empire still dominated,
but slowly the peculiar medieval book culture emerged.
Before the invention and adoption of the printing press, almost all
books were copied by hand, which made books expensive and
comparatively rare. Smaller monasteries usually had only a few dozen
books, medium-sized perhaps a few hundred. By the 9th century, larger
collections held around 500 volumes and even at the end of the Middle
Ages, the papal library in
Avignon and Paris library of the Sorbonne
held only around 2,000 volumes.
Burgundian author and scribe Jean Miélot, from his Miracles de Notre
Dame, 15th century.
The scriptorium of the monastery was usually located over the chapter
house. Artificial light was forbidden for fear it may damage the
manuscripts. There were five types of scribes:
Calligraphers, who dealt in fine book production
Copyists, who dealt with basic production and correspondence
Correctors, who collated and compared a finished book with the
manuscript from which it had been produced
Illuminators, who painted illustrations
Rubricators, who painted in the red letters
The bookmaking process was long and laborious. The parchment had to be
prepared, then the unbound pages were planned and ruled with a blunt
tool or lead, after which the text was written by the scribe, who
usually left blank areas for illustration and rubrication. Finally,
the book was bound by the bookbinder.
Desk with chained books in the
Malatestiana Library of Cesena, Italy.
Different types of ink were known in antiquity, usually prepared from
soot and gum, and later also from gall nuts and iron vitriol. This
gave writing a brownish black color, but black or brown were not the
only colors used. There are texts written in red or even gold, and
different colors were used for illumination. For very luxurious
manuscripts the whole parchment was colored purple, and the text was
written on it with gold or silver (for example,
Irish monks introduced spacing between words in the 7th century. This
facilitated reading, as these monks tended to be less familiar with
Latin. However, the use of spaces between words did not become
commonplace before the 12th century. It has been argued that the use
of spacing between words shows the transition from semi-vocalized
reading into silent reading.
The first books used parchment or vellum (calfskin) for the pages. The
book covers were made of wood and covered with leather. Because dried
parchment tends to assume the form it had before processing, the books
were fitted with clasps or straps. During the later Middle Ages, when
public libraries appeared, up to the 18th century, books were often
chained to a bookshelf or a desk to prevent theft. These chained books
are called libri catenati.
At first, books were copied mostly in monasteries, one at a time. With
the rise of universities in the 13th century, the
of the time led to an increase in the demand for books, and a new
system for copying books appeared. The books were divided into unbound
leaves (pecia), which were lent out to different copyists, so the
speed of book production was considerably increased. The system was
maintained by secular stationers guilds, which produced both religious
and non-religious material.
Judaism has kept the art of the scribe alive up to the present.
According to Jewish tradition, the
Torah scroll placed in a synagogue
must be written by hand on parchment and a printed book would not do,
though the congregation may use printed prayer books and printed
copies of the Scriptures are used for study outside the synagogue. A
sofer "scribe" is a highly respected member of any observant Jewish
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People of various religious (Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Muslims)
and ethnic backgrounds (Syriac, Coptic, Persian, Arab etc.) in the
Middle East also produced and bound books in the Islamic Golden Age
(mid 8th century to 1258), developing advanced techniques in Islamic
calligraphy, miniatures and bookbinding. A number of cities in the
medieval Islamic world had book production centers and book markets.
Yaqubi (d. 897) says that in his time Baghdad had over a hundred
Book shops were often situated around the town's
principal mosque  as in Marrakesh, Morocco, that has a street
named Kutubiyyin or book sellers in English and the famous Koutoubia
Mosque is named so because of its location in this street.
Muslim world also used a method of reproducing reliable
copies of a book in large quantities known as check reading, in
contrast to the traditional method of a single scribe producing only a
single copy of a single manuscript. In the check reading method, only
"authors could authorize copies, and this was done in public sessions
in which the copyist read the copy aloud in the presence of the
author, who then certified it as accurate." With this
check-reading system, "an author might produce a dozen or more copies
from a single reading," and with two or more readings, "more than one
hundred copies of a single book could easily be produced." By
using as writing material the relatively cheap paper instead of
parchment or papyrus the Muslims, in the words of Pedersen
"accomplished a feat of crucial significance not only to the history
of the Islamic book, but also to the whole world of books".
Wood block printing
Bagh Print Traditional woodblock printing in Bagh Madhya Pradesh,
In woodblock printing, a relief image of an entire page was carved
into blocks of wood, inked, and used to print copies of that page.
This method originated in China, in the
Han dynasty (before 220 AD),
as a method of printing on textiles and later paper, and was widely
used throughout East Asia. The oldest dated book printed by this
The Diamond Sutra
The Diamond Sutra (868 AD).The method (called
used in art) arrived in Europe in the early 14th century. Books (known
as block-books), as well as playing-cards and religious pictures,
began to be produced by this method. Creating an entire book was a
painstaking process, requiring a hand-carved block for each page; and
the wood blocks tended to crack, if stored for long. The monks or
people who wrote them were paid highly.
Movable type and incunabula
A 15th-century Incunable. Notice the blind-tooled cover, corner bosses
Movable type and Incunable
Selected Teachings of Buddhist Sages and Son Masters, the earliest
known book printed with movable metal type, 1377. Bibliothèque
nationale de France.
The Chinese inventor
Bi Sheng made movable type of earthenware circa
1045, but there are no known surviving examples of his printing.
Around 1450, in what is commonly regarded as an independent invention,
Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type in Europe, along with
innovations in casting the type based on a matrix and hand mould. This
invention gradually made books less expensive to produce, and more
Early printed books, single sheets and images which were created
before 1501 in Europe are known as incunables or incunabula. "A man
born in 1453, the year of the fall of Constantinople, could look back
from his fiftieth year on a lifetime in which about eight million
books had been printed, more perhaps than all the scribes of Europe
had produced since Constantine founded his city in A.D. 330."
19th century to 21st centuries
Steam-powered printing presses became popular in the early 19th
century. These machines could print 1,100 sheets per hour, but workers
could only set 2,000 letters per hour.
linotype typesetting machines were introduced in the late 19th
century. They could set more than 6,000 letters per hour and an entire
line of type at once. There have been numerous improvements in the
printing press. As well, the conditions for freedom of the press have
been improved through the gradual relaxation of restrictive censorship
laws. See also intellectual property, public domain, copyright. In
mid-20th century, European book production had risen to over 200,000
titles per year.
Throughout the 20th century, libraries have faced an ever-increasing
rate of publishing, sometimes called an information explosion. The
advent of electronic publishing and the internet means that much new
information is not printed in paper books, but is made available
online through a digital library, on CD-ROM, in the form of e-books or
other online media. An on-line book is an e-book that is available
online through the internet. Though many books are produced digitally,
most digital versions are not available to the public, and there is no
decline in the rate of paper publishing. There is an effort,
however, to convert books that are in the public domain into a digital
medium for unlimited redistribution and infinite availability. This
effort is spearheaded by
Project Gutenberg combined with Distributed
Proofreaders. There have also been new developments in the process of
publishing books. Technologies such as POD or "print on demand", which
make it possible to print as few as one book at a time, have made
self-publishing (and vanity publishing) much easier and more
affordable. On-demand publishing has allowed publishers, by avoiding
the high costs of warehousing, to keep low-selling books in print
rather than declaring them out of print.
Main article: Bookbinding
See also: Publishing
The spine of the book is an important aspect in book design,
especially in the cover design. When the books are stacked up or
stored in a shelf, the details on the spine is the only visible
surface that contains the information about the book. In stores, it is
the details on the spine that attract buyers' attention first.
The methods used for the printing and binding of books continued
fundamentally unchanged from the 15th century into the early 20th
century. While there was more mechanization, a book printer in 1900
had much in common with Gutenberg. Gutenberg's invention was the use
of movable metal types, assembled into words, lines, and pages and
then printed by letterpress to create multiple copies. Modern paper
books are printed on papers designed specifically for printed books.
Traditionally, book papers are off-white or low-white papers (easier
to read), are opaque to minimise the show-through of text from one
side of the page to the other and are (usually) made to tighter
caliper or thickness specifications, particularly for case-bound
books. Different paper qualities are used depending on the type of
book: Machine finished coated papers, woodfree uncoated papers, coated
fine papers and special fine papers are common paper grades.
Today, the majority of books are printed by offset lithography.
When a book is printed, the pages are laid out on the plate so that
after the printed sheet is folded the pages will be in the correct
sequence. Books tend to be manufactured nowadays in a few standard
sizes. The sizes of books are usually specified as "trim size": the
size of the page after the sheet has been folded and trimmed. The
standard sizes result from sheet sizes (therefore machine sizes) which
became popular 200 or 300 years ago, and have come to dominate the
industry. British conventions in this regard prevail throughout the
English-speaking world, except for the USA. The European book
manufacturing industry works to a completely different set of
Modern bound books are organized according to a particular format
called the book's layout. Although there is great variation in layout,
modern books tend to adhere to as set of rules with regard to what the
parts of the layout are and what their content usually includes. A
basic layout will include a front cover, a back cover, and the book's
content which is called its body copy or content pages. The front
cover often bears the book's title (and subtitle, if any) and the name
of its author or editor(s). The inside front cover page is usually
left blank in both hardcover and paperback books. The next section, if
present, is the book's front matter, which includes all textual
material after the front cover but not part of the book's content—
such things as a forward, a dedication, and a table of contents as
well as publisher data such as the book's edition or printing number
and place of publication. Between the body copy and the back cover
goes the end matter which would include any indices, sets of tables,
or diagrams, glossaries, or lists of cited works (though an edited
book with multiple contributing authors usually places cited works at
the end of each authored chapter). The inside back cover page, like
that inside the front cover, is usually blank. The back cover itself
is the usual place for the book's ISBN, and maybe a photograph of the
author(s)/ editor(s), perhaps with a short introduction to them. Also
here often appear plot summaries, barcodes, and excerpted reviews of
Some books, particularly those with shorter runs (i.e. fewer copies)
will be printed on sheet-fed offset presses, but most books are now
printed on web presses, which are fed by a continuous roll of paper,
and can consequently print more copies in a shorter time. As the
production line circulates, a complete "book" is collected together in
one stack, next to another, and another A web press carries out the
folding itself, delivering bundles of signatures (sections) ready to
go into the gathering line. Note that the pages of a book are printed
two at a time, not as one complete book. Excess numbers are printed to
make up for any spoilage due to make-readies or test pages to assure
final print quality.
A make-ready is the preparatory work carried out by the pressmen to
get the printing press up to the required quality of impression.
Included in make-ready is the time taken to mount the plate onto the
machine, clean up any mess from the previous job, and get the press up
to speed. As soon as the pressman decides that the printing is
correct, all the make-ready sheets will be discarded, and the press
will start making books. Similar make readies take place in the
folding and binding areas, each involving spoilage of paper.
After the signatures are folded and gathered, they move into the
bindery. In the middle of last century there were still many trade
binders – stand-alone binding companies which did no printing,
specializing in binding alone. At that time, because of the dominance
of letterpress printing, typesetting and printing took place in one
location, and binding in a different factory. When type was all metal,
a typical book's worth of type would be bulky, fragile and heavy. The
less it was moved in this condition the better: so printing would be
carried out in the same location as the typesetting. Printed sheets on
the other hand could easily be moved. Now, because of increasing
computerization of preparing a book for the printer, the typesetting
part of the job has flowed upstream, where it is done either by
separately contracting companies working for the publisher, by the
publishers themselves, or even by the authors. Mergers in the book
manufacturing industry mean that it is now unusual to find a bindery
which is not also involved in book printing (and vice versa).
If the book is a hardback its path through the bindery will involve
more points of activity than if it is a paperback. Unsewn binding, is
now increasingly common. The signatures of a book can also be held
together by "Smyth sewing" using needles, "McCain sewing", using
drilled holes often used in schoolbook binding, or "notch binding",
where gashes about an inch long are made at intervals through the fold
in the spine of each signature. The rest of the binding process is
similar in all instances. Sewn and notch bound books can be bound as
either hardbacks or paperbacks.
"Making cases" happens off-line and prior to the book's arrival at the
binding line. In the most basic case-making, two pieces of cardboard
are placed onto a glued piece of cloth with a space between them into
which is glued a thinner board cut to the width of the spine of the
book. The overlapping edges of the cloth (about 5/8" all round) are
folded over the boards, and pressed down to adhere. After case-making
the stack of cases will go to the foil stamping area for adding
decorations and type.
Recent developments in book manufacturing include the development of
Book pages are printed, in much the same way as an
office copier works, using toner rather than ink. Each book is printed
in one pass, not as separate signatures. Digital printing has
permitted the manufacture of much smaller quantities than offset, in
part because of the absence of make readies and of spoilage. One might
think of a web press as printing quantities over 2000, quantities from
250 to 2000 being printed on sheet-fed presses, and digital presses
doing quantities below 250. These numbers are of course only
approximate and will vary from supplier to supplier, and from book to
book depending on its characteristics. Digital printing has opened up
the possibility of print-on-demand, where no books are printed until
after an order is received from a customer.
Main article: e-book
A screen of a Kindle e-reader.
In the 2000s, due to the rise in availability of affordable handheld
computing devices, the opportunity to share texts through electronic
means became an appealing option for media publishers. Thus, the
"e-book" was made. The term e-book is a contraction of "electronic
book"; it refers to a book-length publication in digital form. An
e-book is usually made available through the internet, but also on
CD-ROM and other forms. E-Books may be read either via a computing
device with an LED display such as a traditional computer, a
smartphone or a tablet computer; or by means of a portable e-ink
display device known as an e-book reader, such as the Sony Reader,
Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo eReader, or the Amazon Kindle. E-book
readers attempt to mimic the experience of reading a print book by
using this technology, since the displays on e-book readers are much
Book design is the art of incorporating the content, style, format,
design, and sequence of the various components of a book into a
coherent whole. In the words of Jan Tschichold, book design "though
largely forgotten today, methods and rules upon which it is impossible
to improve have been developed over centuries. To produce perfect
books these rules have to be brought back to life and applied."
Richard Hendel describes book design as "an arcane subject" and refers
to the need for a context to understand what that means. Many
different creators can contribute to book design, including graphic
designers, artists and editors.
Real-size facsimile of
The world's largest book
The size of a modern book is based on the printing area of a common
flatbed press. The pages of type were arranged and clamped in a frame,
so that when printed on a sheet of paper the full size of the press,
the pages would be right side up and in order when the sheet was
folded, and the folded edges trimmed.
The most common book sizes are:
Quarto (4to): the sheet of paper is folded twice, forming four leaves
(eight pages) approximately 11-13 inches (ca 30 cm) tall
Octavo (8vo): the most common size for current hardcover books. The
sheet is folded three times into eight leaves (16 pages) up to 9 ¾"
(ca 23 cm) tall.
DuoDecimo (12mo): a size between 8vo and 16mo, up to 7 ¾" (ca
18 cm) tall
Sextodecimo (16mo): the sheet is folded four times, forming 16 leaves
(32 pages) up to 6 ¾" (ca 15 cm) tall
Sizes smaller than 16mo are:
24mo: up to 5 ¾" (ca 13 cm) tall.
32mo: up to 5" (ca 12 cm) tall.
48mo: up to 4" (ca 10 cm) tall.
64mo: up to 3" (ca 8 cm) tall.
Small books can be called booklets.
Sizes larger than quarto are:
Folio: up to 15" (ca 38 cm) tall.
Elephant Folio: up to 23" (ca 58 cm) tall.
Atlas Folio: up to 25" (ca 63 cm) tall.
Double Elephant Folio: up to 50" (ca 127 cm) tall.
The largest extant medieval manuscript in the world is
Codex Gigas 92
× 50 × 22 cm. The world's largest book is made of stone and is
Kuthodaw Pagoda (Burma).
Novels in a bookstore
A common separation by content are fiction and non-fiction books. This
simple separation can be found in most collections, libraries, and
Many of the books published today are fiction, meaning that they are
in-part or completely untrue. Historically, paper production was
considered too expensive to be used for entertainment. An increase in
global literacy and print technology led to the increased publication
of books for the purpose of entertainment, and allegorical social
commentary. Most fiction is additionally categorized by genre.
The novel is the most common form of fiction book. Novels are stories
that typically feature a plot, setting, themes and characters. Stories
and narrative are not restricted to any topic; a novel can be
whimsical, serious or controversial. The novel has had a tremendous
impact on entertainment and publishing markets. A novella is a
term sometimes used for fiction prose typically between 17,500 and
40,000 words, and a novelette between 7,500 and 17,500. A short story
may be any length up to 10,000 words, but these word lengths vary.
Comic books or graphic novels are books in which the story is
illustrated. The characters and narrators use speech or thought
bubbles to express verbal language.
A page from a dictionary
In a library, a reference book is a general type of non-fiction book
which provides information as opposed to telling a story, essay,
commentary, or otherwise supporting a point of view. An almanac is a
very general reference book, usually one-volume, with lists of data
and information on many topics. An encyclopedia is a book or set of
books designed to have more in-depth articles on many topics. A book
listing words, their etymology, meanings, and other information is
called a dictionary. A book which is a collection of maps is an atlas.
A more specific reference book with tables or lists of data and
information about a certain topic, often intended for professional
use, is often called a handbook. Books which try to list references
and abstracts in a certain broad area may be called an index, such as
Engineering Index, or abstracts such as chemical abstracts and
Books with technical information on how to do something or how to use
some equipment are called instruction manuals. Other popular how-to
books include cookbooks and home improvement books.
Students typically store and carry textbooks and schoolbooks for study
Elementary school pupils often use workbooks, which are
published with spaces or blanks to be filled by them for study or
homework. In US higher education, it is common for a student to take
an exam using a blue book.
A page from a notebook used as hand written diary
There is a large set of books that are made only to write private
ideas, notes, and accounts. These books are rarely published and are
typically destroyed or remain private. Notebooks are blank papers to
be written in by the user. Students and writers commonly use them for
taking notes. Scientists and other researchers use lab notebooks to
record their notes. They often feature spiral coil bindings at the
edge so that pages may easily be torn out.
A Telephone Directory, with business and residence listings.
Address books, phone books, and calendar/appointment books are
commonly used on a daily basis for recording appointments, meetings
and personal contact information.
Books for recording periodic entries by the user, such as daily
information about a journey, are called logbooks or simply logs. A
similar book for writing the owner's daily private personal events,
information, and ideas is called a diary or personal journal.
Businesses use accounting books such as journals and ledgers to record
financial data in a practice called bookkeeping.
There are several other types of books which are not commonly found
under this system. Albums are books for holding a group of items
belonging to a particular theme, such as a set of photographs, card
collections, and memorabilia. One common example is stamp albums,
which are used by many hobbyists to protect and organize their
collections of postage stamps. Such albums are often made using
removable plastic pages held inside in a ringed binder or other
similar holder. Picture books are books for children with pictures on
every page and less text (or even no text).
Hymnals are books with collections of musical hymns that can typically
be found in churches. Prayerbooks or missals are books that contain
written prayers and are commonly carried by monks, nuns, and other
devoted followers or clergy.
Decodable readers and leveled books
A leveled book collection is a set of books organized in levels of
difficulty from the easy books appropriate for an emergent reader to
longer more complex books adequate for advanced readers. Decodable
readers or books are a specialized type of leveled books that use
decodable text only including controlled lists of words, sentences and
stories consistent with the letters and phonics that have been taught
to the emergent reader. New sounds and letters are added to higher
level decodable books, as the level of instruction progresses,
allowing for higher levels of accuracy, comprehension and fluency.
By physical format
Hardcover books have a stiff binding.
Paperback books have cheaper,
flexible covers which tend to be less durable. An alternative to
paperback is the glossy cover, otherwise known as a dust cover, found
on magazines, and comic books. Spiral-bound books are bound by spirals
made of metal or plastic. Examples of spiral-bound books include
teachers' manuals and puzzle books (crosswords, sudoku).
Publishing is a process for producing pre-printed books, magazines,
and newspapers for the reader/user to buy.
Publishers may produce low-cost, pre-publication copies known as
galleys or 'bound proofs' for promotional purposes, such as generating
reviews in advance of publication. Galleys are usually made as cheaply
as possible, since they are not intended for sale.
Main article: Library
Library was built in 135 AD and could house around 12,000
Private or personal libraries made up of non-fiction and fiction
books, (as opposed to the state or institutional records kept in
archives) first appeared in classical Greece. In the ancient world,
the maintaining of a library was usually (but not exclusively) the
privilege of a wealthy individual. These libraries could have been
either private or public, i.e. for people who were interested in using
them. The difference from a modern public library lies in the fact
that they were usually not funded from public sources. It is estimated
that in the city of Rome at the end of the 3rd century there were
around 30 public libraries. Public libraries also existed in other
cities of the ancient Mediterranean region (for example,
Alexandria). Later, in the Middle Ages, monasteries and
universities had also libraries that could be accessible to general
public. Typically not the whole collection was available to public,
the books could not be borrowed and often were chained to reading
stands to prevent theft.
The beginning of modern public library begins around 15th century when
individuals started to donate books to towns. The growth of a
public library system in the United States started in the late 19th
century and was much helped by donations from Andrew Carnegie. This
reflected classes in a society: The poor or the middle class had to
access most books through a public library or by other means while the
rich could afford to have a private library built in their homes. In
the United States the Boston Public
Library 1852 Report of the
Trustees established the justification for the public library as a
tax-supported institution intended to extend educational opportunity
and provide for general culture.
The advent of paperback books in the 20th century led to an explosion
of popular publishing.
Paperback books made owning books affordable
for many people.
Paperback books often included works from genres that
had previously been published mostly in pulp magazines. As a result of
the low cost of such books and the spread of bookstores filled with
them (in addition to the creation of a smaller market of extremely
cheap used paperbacks) owning a private library ceased to be a status
symbol for the rich.
In library and booksellers' catalogues, it is common to include an
abbreviation such as "Crown 8vo" to indicate the paper size from which
the book is made.
When rows of books are lined on a book holder, bookends are sometimes
needed to keep them from slanting.
Identification and classification
ISBN with barcode
During the 20th century, librarians were concerned about keeping track
of the many books being added yearly to the Gutenberg Galaxy. Through
a global society called the International Federation of Library
Associations and Institutions (IFLA), they devised a series of tools
International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD).
Each book is specified by an International Standard
Book Number, or
ISBN, which is unique to every edition of every book produced by
participating publishers, worldwide. It is managed by the ISBN
ISBN has four parts: the first part is the country code,
the second the publisher code, and the third the title code. The last
part is a check digit, and can take values from 0–9 and X (10). The
EAN Barcodes numbers for books are derived from the
ISBN by prefixing
978, for Bookland, and calculating a new check digit.
Commercial publishers in industrialized countries generally assign
ISBNs to their books, so buyers may presume that the
ISBN is part of a
total international system, with no exceptions. However, many
government publishers, in industrial as well as developing countries,
do not participate fully in the
ISBN system, and publish books which
do not have ISBNs. A large or public collection requires a catalogue.
Codes called "call numbers" relate the books to the catalogue, and
determine their locations on the shelves. Call numbers are based on a
Library classification system. The call number is placed on the spine
of the book, normally a short distance before the bottom, and inside.
Institutional or national standards, such as ANSI/
NISO Z39.41 - 1997,
establish the correct way to place information (such as the title, or
the name of the author) on book spines, and on "shelvable" book-like
objects, such as containers for DVDs, video tapes and software.
Books on library shelves with bookends, and call numbers visible on
One of the earliest and most widely known systems of cataloguing books
is the Dewey Decimal System. Another widely known system is the
Library of Congress Classification system. Both systems are biased
towards subjects which were well represented in US libraries when they
were developed, and hence have problems handling new subjects, such as
computing, or subjects relating to other cultures.
Information about books and authors can be stored in databases like
online general-interest book databases. Metadata, which means "data
about data" is information about a book.
Metadata about a book may
include its title,
ISBN or other classification number (see above),
the names of contributors (author, editor, illustrator) and publisher,
its date and size, the language of the text, its subject matter, etc.
Bliss bibliographic classification (BC)
Library Classification (CLC)
Dewey Decimal Classification
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)
Library of Congress Classification (LCC)
New Classification Scheme for Chinese Libraries
Universal Decimal Classification (UDC)
Aside from the primary purpose of reading them, books are also used
for other ends:
A book can be an artistic artifact, a piece of art; this is sometimes
known as an artists' book.
A book may be evaluated by a reader or professional writer to create a
A book may be read by a group of people to use as a spark for social
or academic discussion, as in a book club.
A book may be studied by students as the subject of a writing and
analysis exercise in the form of a book report.
Books are sometimes used for their exterior appearance to decorate a
room, such as a study.
Once the book is published, it is put on the market by the
distributors and the bookstores. Meanwhile, his promotion comes from
various media reports.
Book marketing is governed by the law in many
Other forms of secondary spread
In recent years, the book had a second life in the form of reading
aloud. This is called public readings of published works, with the
assistance of professional readers (often known actors) and in close
collaboration with writers, publishers, booksellers, librarians,
leaders of the literary world and artists.
Many individual or collective practices exist to increase the number
of readers of a book. Among them:
abandonment of books in public places, coupled or not with the use of
the Internet, known as the bookcrossing;
provision of free books in third places like bars or cafes;
itinerant or temporary libraries;
free public libraries in the area.
Evolution of the book industry
This form of the book chain has hardly changed since the eighteenth
century, and has not always been this way. Thus, the author has
asserted gradually with time, and the copyright dates only from the
nineteenth century. For many centuries, especially before the
invention of printing, each freely copied out books that passed
through his hands, adding if necessary his own comments. Similarly,
bookseller and publisher jobs have emerged with the invention of
printing, which made the book an industrial product, requiring
structures of production and marketing.
The invention of the Internet, e-readers, tablets, and projects like
and Gutenberg, are likely to strongly change the book
industry in the years to come.
Paper and conservation
Main article: Conservation and restoration of books, manuscripts,
documents and ephemera
Halfbound book with leather and marbled paper.
Paper was first made in China as early as 200 BC, and reached Europe
through Muslim territories. At first made of rags, the industrial
revolution changed paper-making practices, allowing for paper to be
made out of wood pulp. Papermaking in Europe began in the 11th
century, although vellum was also common there as page material up
until the beginning of the 16th century, vellum being the more
expensive and durable option. Printers or publishers would often issue
the same publication on both materials, to cater to more than one
Paper made from wood pulp became popular in the early 20th century,
because it was cheaper than linen or abaca cloth-based papers.
Pulp-based paper made books less expensive to the general public. This
paved the way for huge leaps in the rate of literacy in industrialised
nations, and enabled the spread of information during the Second
Pulp paper, however, contains acid which eventually destroys the paper
from within. Earlier techniques for making paper used limestone
rollers, which neutralized the acid in the pulp. Books printed between
1850 and 1950 are primarily at risk; more recent books are often
printed on acid-free or alkaline paper. Libraries today have to
consider mass deacidification of their older collections in order to
Stability of the climate is critical to the long-term preservation of
paper and book material. Good air circulation is important to keep
fluctuation in climate stable. The
HVAC system should be up to date
and functioning efficiently. Light is detrimental to collections.
Therefore, care should be given to the collections by implementing
light control. General housekeeping issues can be addressed, including
pest control. In addition to these helpful solutions, a library must
also make an effort to be prepared if a disaster occurs, one that they
cannot control. Time and effort should be given to create a concise
and effective disaster plan to counteract any damage incurred through
"acts of God" therefore an emergency management plan should be in
Outline of books
Lists of books
Open access book
Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and
The Smallest Books in the World
^ IEILS, p. 41
^ IEILS, p. 41
^ "Books of the world, stand up and be counted! All 129,864,880 of
Google Books. August 5, 2010. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
After we exclude serials, we can finally count all the books in the
world. There are 129,864,880 of them. At least until Sunday.
^ Curtis, George (2011). The Law of Cybercrimes and Their
Investigations. p. 161.
^ "The Plot Twist: E-
Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead". The
New York Times. September 22, 2015. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
^ "Book". Dictionary.com. Retrieved November 6, 2010.
^ "Northvegr - Holy Language Lexicon". November 3, 2008. Archived from
the original on November 3, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
^ Roberta Binkley (2004). "Reading the Ancient Figure of Enheduanna".
Rhetoric before and beyond the Greeks. SUNY Press. p. 47.
^ Leila Avrin. Scribes, Script and Books, p. 173.
^ Bischoff, Bernhard (1990). Latin palaeography antiquity and the
Middle Ages. Dáibhí ó Cróinin. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press. p. 11. ISBN 0-521-36473-6.
^ Avrin, Leila (1991). Scribes, script, and books: the book arts from
antiquity to the Renaissance. New York, New York: American Library
Association; The British Library. p. 83.
^ Dard Hunter. Papermaking: History and Technique of an Ancient Craft
New ed. Dover Publications 1978, p. 12.
^ Leila Avrin. Scribes, Script and Books, pp. 144–145.
^ The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature. Edd. Frances
Young, Lewis Ayres, Andrew Louth, Ron White. Cambridge University
Press 2004, pp. 8–9.
^ Leila Avrin. Scribes, Script and Books, pp. 207–208.
^ Theodore Maynard. Saint Benedict and His Monks. Staples Press Ltd
1956, pp. 70–71.
^ Martin D. Joachim. Historical Aspects of Cataloguing and
Classification. Haworth Press 2003, p. 452.
^ Edith Diehl. Bookbinding: Its Background and Technique. Dover
Publications 1980, pp. 14–16.
^ Bernhard Bischoff. Latin Palaeography, pp. 16–17.
^ Paul Saenger. Space Between Words: The Origins of Silent Reading.
Stanford University Press 1997.
^ Bernhard Bischoff. Latin Palaeography, pp. 42–43.
^ W. Durant, "The Age of Faith", New York 1950, p. 236
^ S.E. Al-Djazairi "The Golden Age of Islamic Civilization",
Manchester 2996, p. 200
^ Edmund Burke (June 2009). "Islam at the Center: Technological
Complexes and the Roots of Modernity". Journal of World History.
University of Hawaii Press. 20 (2): 165–186 .
^ Edmund Burke (June 2009). "Islam at the Center: Technological
Complexes and the Roots of Modernity". Journal of World History.
University of Hawaii Press. 20 (2): 165–186 .
^ Johs. Pedersen, "The Arabic Book", Princeton University Press, 1984,
^ Clapham, Michael, "Printing" in A History of Technology, Vol 2. From
the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution, edd. Charles Singer et
al. (Oxford 1957), p. 377. Cited from Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, The
Printing Press as an Agent of Change (Cambridge University, 1980).
^ Bowker Reports Traditional U.S.
Book Production Flat in 2009
Archived January 28, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
^ Vermeer, Leslie (2016-08-31). The Complete Canadian
Brush Education. ISBN 9781550596779.
^ Gary B. Shelly; Joy L. Starks (6 January 2011). Microsoft Publisher
2010: Comprehensive. Cengage Learning. p. 559.
^ Rainie, Lee; Zickuhr, Kathryn; Purcell, Kristen; Madden, Mary;
Brenner, Joanna (2012-04-04). "The rise of e-reading". Pew Internet
Libraries. Retrieved 2017-02-02.
^ "What is an e-book". Archived from the original on July 22, 2012.
Retrieved December 30, 2016.
^ Edwin Mcdowell (October 30, 1989). "The Media Business; Publishers
Fiction Sales Weaken". New York Times. Retrieved January
^ Miriam A. Drake,
Library and Information Science
(Marcel Dekker, 2003), "Public Libraries, History".
^ Miriam A. Drake,
Encyclopedia of Library, "Public Libraries,
^ McCook, Kathleen de la Peña (2011), Introduction to Public
Librarianship, 2nd ed., p. 23 New York, Neal-Schuman.
^ Patkus, Beth (2003). "Assessing Preservation Needs, A Self-Survey
Guide". Andover: Northeast Document Conservation Center.
"IEILS": "Book", in International
Encyclopedia of Information and
Library Science, Editors: John Feather, Paul Sturges, 2003, Routledge,
ISBN 1134513216, 9781134513215
Tim Parks (August 2017), The Books We Don’t Understand, New York
Review of Books
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