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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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The Book of Kells, (folio 292r), circa 800, showing the lavishly decorated text that opens the Gospel of John.

The Book of Kells (Irish: Leabhar Cheanannais) (Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS A. I. (58), sometimes known as the Book of Columba) is an illuminated manuscript that is a masterwork of Western calligraphy and represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination. It is also widely regarded as Ireland's finest national treasure. Transcribed by Celtic monks ca. 800, it contains the four Gospels of the New Testament in Latin, together with various prefatory texts and tables. The text of the Gospels is largely drawn from the Vulgate, although it also includes several passage drawn from the earlier versions of the Bible known as the Vetus Latina.The illustrations and ornamentation of the Book of Kells surpasses that of other Insular Gospels in extravagance and complexity. The decoration combines traditional Christian iconography with the ornate swirling motifs of typical of Insular art. Figures of humans, animals and mythical beasts together with intricate knotwork and interlacing patterns in vibrant colours enliven the manuscript's pages. Many of these minor decorative elements are imbued with Christian symbolism and so further emphasize the themes of the major illustrations.

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Folio 27r from the Lindisfarne Gospels contains the incipit from the Gospel of Matthew.

Credit: Eadfrith of Lindisfarne

The Lindisfarne Gospels is an illuminated Latin manuscript of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The manuscript was produced on Lindisfarne in Northumbria in the late 7th century or early 8th century.

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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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Chinua Achebe , born Albert Chinualumogu Achebe on May 12, 1930, is a Nigerian novelist, poet and critic. He is best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), which is the most widely-read book in modern African literature.Raised by Christian parents in the Igbo village of Ogidi in south Nigeria, Achebe excelled at school and won a scholarship for undergraduate studies. He became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures, and began writing stories as a university student. After graduation, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service and soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos. He gained worldwide attention for Things Fall Apart in the late 1950s; his later novels include No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987). Achebe wrote his novels in English and has defended the use of English, a language of colonisers, in African literature. In 1975, his lecture An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" became the focus of controversy, for its criticism of Joseph Conrad as "a thoroughgoing racist".

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Project Gutenberg eText 16786.jpg


Did you know...

Gutenberg Bible.jpg
  • ...that by 2007, the Bible was translated into 429 languages, with portions of it translated in 2,426 languages?(Pictured)
  • ...that Muslims believe that the Qur’ān is the book of divine guidance and direction for mankind?
  • ...that the Rig Veda is one of the oldest religious texts?

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