What is a Book?


A book is a written or printed work, typically made up of pages that are bound together with covers. Books can include text, illustrations or images and may also contain tables, charts and diagrams. Books can be produced using a number of processes, including lithography, gravure and web printing. The history of the book dates back thousands of years and is a rich and diverse one. The book is a cultural artefact that has undergone several transformations over the centuries, with gradual moves to shorter textual expression taking place alongside the delivery of stories in other forms besides textual content.

A book’s title is its first marketing and selling tool and it helps to determine if a prospective reader will choose to read it. An excellent title can capture the attention of an agent, editor, publisher and book clubs and it can influence the decision of bookstores and library book buyers to stock the book for sale. Great books are entertaining and engaging with lively scenes and believable characters that engage the reader’s interest. Writing a great book is an exacting craft that requires a substantial amount of time to master.

The word book comes from the Latin word biblia, meaning “the collection of leaves” or, less frequently, a “small volume”. In ancient times books were produced as a set of scrolls rolled together to form a codex and, later, were made up of loose sheets. A book is also a container of information that can be organized and categorized in many ways. For example, a book that contains a collection of maps is called an atlas. A book that lists words with their etymology and meanings is called a dictionary.

A physical book can be made of any material, including paper, cloth or leather and can have a variety of binding styles. Some books, such as album-style photo albums and scrapbooks, have removable plastic pages that fit into a ringed binder. Other physical books, such as calendars, appointment books and diaries, have blank or ruled pages for recording entries in a chronological order. Book-like digital formats such as ebooks and audiobooks have become more common as the popularity of ereading has increased.