Portal:Books

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Johannes Trithemius'Polygraphiae (1518)

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 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.

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Title-page engraving from an 1897 edition of Le Père Goriot, by an unknown artist; published by George Barrie & Son in Philadelphia.

Le Père Goriot (English: Father Goriot or Old Goriot) is an 1835 novel by French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850), included in the Scènes de la vie privée section of his novel sequence La Comédie humaine. Set in Paris in 1819, it follows the intertwined lives of three characters: the elderly doting Goriot; a mysterious criminal-in-hiding named Vautrin; and a naive law student named Eugène de Rastignac.Originally published in serial form during the winter of 1834–35, Le Père Goriot is widely considered as Balzac's most important novel. It marks the first serious use by the author of characters who had appeared in other books, a technique that distinguishes Balzac's fiction and makes La Comédie humaine unique among bodies of work. The novel is also noted as an example of his realist style, using minute details to create character and subtext.The novel takes place during the Bourbon Restoration, which brought about profound changes in French society; the struggle of individuals to secure upper-class status is ubiquitous in the book.

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Plates vi & vii of the Edwin Smith Papyrus at the Rare Book Room, New York Academy of Medicine.

Credit: author unknown

The Edwin Smith Papyrus is an Ancient Egyptian textbook on trauma surgery, written in hieratic around the 19th century BC, but thought to be based on material from a thousand years earlier. It is the world's earliest known example of medical literature.

Books topics

For a topical guide of this subject, see Outline of books

Web resources

  • Bookbinding and the Conservation of books, A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, 1982 by Matt T. Roberts and Don Etherington
  • IOBA glossary of book terms
  • Project Gutenberg - Free e-Books
  • Words at Large: The best in books from CBC.ca
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In the news

March 14, 2012

After a 244-year span in print, the Encyclopædia Britannica will discontinue its published volumes. With less than 1% of revenue coming from print versions, Jorge Cauz, Britannica's president, indicates there simply is not sufficient demand for the print publication. In the last 11 years demand has plummeted due to competition from Wikipedia and Britannica's own digital version. Britannica peaked in sales in 1990 with 120,000 sets sold. The 2010 edition will be the last in print and has sold 8,000 sets to date; with 4,000 sets remaining.

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Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. (born May 8, 1937) is an American writer based in New York City, noted for his dense and complex works of fiction. Hailing from Long Island, Pynchon spent two years in the United States Navy and earned an English degree from Cornell University. After publishing several short stories in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he began composing the novels for which he is best known today: V. (1963), The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), Gravity's Rainbow (1973), Vineland (1990), Mason & Dixon (1997), and Against the Day (2006).Pynchon (/ˈpɪnɒn/, with /ˈpɪntʃən/ a common mispronunciation) is regarded by many readers and critics as one of the finest contemporary authors. He is a MacArthur Fellow and a recipient of the National Book Award, and is regularly cited as a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Both his fiction and non-fiction writings encompass a vast array of subject matter, styles and themes, including (but not limited to) the fields of history, science and mathematics. Pynchon is also known for his avoidance of personal publicity: very few photographs of him have ever been published, and rumours about his location and identity have been circulated since the 1960s.

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