What is a Book?


A book is an information repository or set of pages bound together for the purposes of reading, storage and distribution. It can contain texts, images and other media. The term ‘book’ is often used to describe books published in print, but it can also apply to other types of document such as maps, encyclopedias and other reference works. A book may also refer to an artistic object such as a journal or sketchbook.

The history of the book extends back into prehistory, but it is only in the modern era that a wide range of information repositories have been widely recognized as books. The earliest forms of what we now consider a book are found in papyrus rolls and clay tablets, from the ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians, which date back to about 3000 bc. From these the codex, with its two or more pages in uniform size, emerged. Its twin faculties of portability and permanence have made it a resilient medium for the announcement, expoundment and transmission of knowledge in every literate society.

The word book is usually associated with fiction, but nonfiction books are also a key element in many cultures’ intellectual heritage. The subject matter of a book may be anything from history to science, art or cookery, but its basic form is identical: a group of pages in a specific format. There are other formats that can be called books, including notebooks, sketchbooks and other writing or drawing materials, but these don’t have the characteristics of a book as we know it: they aren’t bound and printed with text.

Many books have been published over the years, and there has been a steady increase in the number of books being published worldwide since the mid- twentieth century. This has been accompanied by a shift from paper to other forms of media, and the rise of new technology has altered the way that we read books.

Books have been used as sources of entertainment and education for thousands of years, and the process of creating a book has evolved with cultural changes. There are now many different types of books, and the choice of a particular type depends on the purpose for which it is being written or read.

For example, some people read novels for the sake of the story, while others read them to gain a greater understanding of a certain subject matter. There are even books that have no text at all and are simply blank pages, which prove that there isn’t a requirement for a book to contain words for it to be considered a book.

Great authors create great books, and they all share three major qualities: they are focused, substantive and organized. They delve into the nuances of grammar and word choice and study the principles of plot and characterization. They also read all the time, and they understand that a successful book requires a large amount of research.