Outline of books

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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to books:

Gutenberg Bible, Lenox Copy, New York Public Library, 2009. Pic 01

Book – set of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of ink, paper, parchment, or other materials, usually fastened together to hinge at one side.

What type of thing is a book?[edit]


A book is a medium for a collection of words and/or pictures to represent knowledge, often manifested in bound paper and ink, or in electronic format such as e-books.

Books can be described as all of the following:

Types of books[edit]

Physical types of books not to be confused with literary genres or types of literature.

Physical properties of a book[edit]

Korean book-Jikji-Selected Teachings of Buddhist Sages and Seon Masters-1377
  • Book size – the dimensions of a book
  • Leaf – a single sheet, the left-hand page of which is the verso, and right-hand page is the recto
    • Page – one side of a leaf of paper.
    • Ink – a type of pigment used to write letters upon the pages of a book
    • Paper – a material that easily absorbs ink, made from ground plant cellulose.
    • Parchment – a heavier alternative to paper, often made of reeds, cotton, or animal hide.
  • Book cover – protective covering used to bind together the pages of a book.
    • Dust jacket – detachable outer cover, usually made of paper and printed with text and illustrations. This outer cover has folded flaps that hold it to the front and back book covers.

Contents of a book[edit]

Copyright page of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 1899

Subject matter[edit]

Structure of book content[edit]

Book design – the common structural parts of a book include:

  • Front cover: hardbound or softcover (paperback); the spine is the binding that joins the front and rear covers where the pages hinge.
  • Front endpaper – the endpapers of a book are pages that consist of a double-size sheet folded, the front endpaper and the flyleaf.
  • Flyleaf: The blank leaf or leaves following the front free endpaper.
  • Front matter – the first section of a book
    • Frontispiece – a decorative illustration on the verso facing the title page
    • Title page – repeats the title and author as printed on the cover or spine.
    • Copyright page: – typically verso of title page: shows copyright owner/date, credits, edition/printing, cataloguing details
    • Table of contents – a list of the chapter headings and nested sub-headings with their respective page numbers
      • List of figures – often included in technical books, a list of drawings or depictions in the book
      • List of tables – often included in technical books, a list of data in rows and columns, or possibly in more complex structure.
    • Dedication – an inscription which is the expression of friendly connection or thanks by the author towards another person.
    • Acknowledgments – a place in the book where the author gives expression of gratitude for assistance in creating an original work. This may also be placed in Back Matter.
    • Foreword – a short piece of writing sometimes placed at the beginning of a book and typically written by someone other than the primary author.
    • Preface – a short introduction to a book written by the work's author. The preface usually describes how the book came into being and may contain thanks or acknowledgments.
    • Introduction – the beginning section that states the purpose and the goals of the book
  • Body – the main text or contents of the book, the pages often collected or folded into signatures; the pages are usually numbered sequentially, and often divided into chapters. Chapters may also have titles, and in a few cases an epigraph or prefatory quotation.
  • Back matter – also known as end matter is the final section of the book it can contain a number of items
    • Epilogue – a piece of writing at the end of the a book which brings closure to the work.
    • Afterword – a piece of writing covering the story of how the book came into being
    • Appendix – supplemental addition to the given work that details information found in the body
    • Glossary – a set of definitions of words important to the work.
    • Index – a list of terms and references used in the text often with page numbers to where the terms can be found in the work.
    • Notes – a list of author comments or citations of a reference work, these may also be found within the main text at the bottom of a page.
    • Bibliography – a list of the works consulted when writing the body
    • Colophon – a brief description with production notes relevant to the edition and may include a printer's mark or logotype.
  • Flyleaf – The blank leaf or leaves (if any) preceding the back free endpaper.
  • Rear endpaper – the endpapers of a book are pages that consist of a double-size sheet folded, the rear end or backend paper the first of which is a flyleaf.
  • Back cover – the back cover of a book which usually contains biographical matter, a summary of the book as well as the ISBN and publisher's price for the book.

Study of books[edit]

Carl Spitzweg 021
  • Bibliography – the academic study of books as physical and cultural objects.
    • Enumerative bibliography – the organized listing of books
    • Descriptive bibliography – description of books as physical objects
    • Analytical bibliography – examination of the physical features of book as artifact
    • List of bibliographies – list of bibliographies on Wikipedia
  • Literature – any single body of written works
  • Media Studies—the discipline and field of study dealing with content, history and effects of various media including print.

Book collections[edit]

Bibliothek St. Florian
  • Library – any single body of written works
    • Digital library – library that houses digital resources
    • Library science – field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education and other areas to libraries.
    • List of libraries
    • Private Library – a library held by a private citizen
    • Public lending libraries – a library that provides service to the general public
    • Research Library—a collection of materials on one more subjects
    • Special Library – specialized library providing resources on a particular topic
      • Corporate Library– specialized library serving staff at business or corporation
      • Federal Library – specialized library of a government
      • Law Library – specialized library devoted to law
      • Medical Library– specialized library focused on medical and health knowledge
      • Museum Library – specialized library within a museum
      • Music Library– specialized library designed for the needs of musicians
      • News Library – specialized library of news articles and news-related items
      • Performing Arts Library – specialized library focusing on performing arts including music, theatre, dance, film and recorded sound
      • Presidential Library – research library with the collection of a U.S. president's papers
      • Theological Library– specialized library devoted to the study of theology
      • Transportation Library– specialized library devoted to transportation

Book identification and classification[edit]

Classification systems[edit]

History of books[edit]

Códice Dresden en la edición de Lacambalam 2001

History of books

  • History of writing – the development of expressing language by letters or other marks.
  • History of scrolls – the history of a roll of papyrus, parchment or paper containing writing.
  • History of the codex – the history of a book with handwritten content
  • History of printing – the history of the duplication of images
    • Woodblock printing (pre- 220 AD) – technique for printing text, images or patterns originating in China in antiquity.
    • Movable type (1040) – the system and technology of printing and typography using moveable components to reproduce elements of a document.
    • Printing press (1454) – a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting on a print medium such as paper or cloth, and thereby transferring ink.
    • Etching (ca. 1500) – a method of printmaking using acid or mordant to cut into a metal surface to create a design in the metal.
    • Mezzotint (1642) – the system and technology of printing and typography using moveable components to reproduce elements of a document.
    • Aquatint (1768) – a variant of etching.
    • Lithography (1796) – method of printing using an image drawn with oil, fat or wax onto the surface of a lithographic limestone plate.
    • Chromolithography (1837) – a method for making multi-color prints.
    • Rotary press (1843) – a printing press in which images to be printed are curved around a cylinder.
    • Offset printing (1875) – a printing technique in which inked image is transferred from a plate to a rubber blanket and then to the printing surface.
    • Hectograph (19th century) – a printing process that involves transfer of an original to a pan of gelatin or gelatin pad pulled over a metal frame.
    • Hot metal typesetting (1886) –a typesetting method where molten-type metal is injected into a mold and the resulting slugs are used to press ink onto paper.
    • Screen printing (1907) – a printing technique where a mesh is used to transfer ink onto a substrate.
    • Digital press (1993) – method of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media.

Book production[edit]

  • Publishing – the dissemination of literature and making information available to the general public.
  • Writing – a medium of human communication representing language and emotion.
    • Author – the creator or originator of written work.
  • Editing – the process of selecting and preparing media used to convey information.
  • Graphic Design – process of visual communication and problem-solving through the use of typography, photography, and illustration.
  • Printing – process of reproducing text and images using a master form or template.
  • Bookbinding – process of physically assembling a book of codex format from an ordered stack of paper sheets and bound together.

Book distribution[edit]

Politics of books[edit]

Memorial to the burning of books on the Bebelplatz in Berlin.

Book culture[edit]

Agatha Christie collection
  • Bibliophilia – the love of books and a bibliophile is an individual who loves and frequently reads books
  • Book discussion club – a group of people who meet to discuss a book or books that they have read
  • Book collecting – the collecting of books, including seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing and maintaining
  • Book review – a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit

Countries and books[edit]

Specific books[edit]

Books by title[edit]

Lists of books – list of book lists (bibliographies) on Wikipedia

Book-related organizations[edit]

Publications about books[edit]

New York Review of Books[1] – an American magazine containing literary criticism, and discussions of the contents of various books.

Persons influential in relation to books[edit]

  • Johannes Gutenberg – inventor of movable type.
  • Lord Stanhope – built a press out of cast iron, reducing force required by 90%, doubling the size of the printed area.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Home". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  2. ^ Meggs, Philip B. A History of Graphic Design. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1998. (pp 130–133) ISBN 0-471-29198-6

External links[edit]

History of books