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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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A page from the Ormulum: note the careful and repeated editing performed over time by Orm, as well as the insertions of new readings by "Hand B."

The Ormulum or Orrmulum is a 12th-century work of biblical exegesis, written in early Middle English verse by a monk named Orm (or Ormin). Because of the unique phonetic orthography adopted by the author, the work preserves many details of English pronunciation at a time when the language was in flux after the Norman Conquest; consequently, despite its lack of literary merit, it is invaluable to philologists in tracing the development of English. Orm was concerned that priests were unable to speak the vernacular properly, and so he developed an idiosyncratic spelling system to tell his readers how to pronounce every vowel, and he composed his work using a strict poetic meter that ensured that readers would know which syllables were stressed. Modern scholars can use these two features to reconstruct Middle English just as Orm spoke it. The name "Orm" is derived from Old Norse, meaning worm, dragon. With the suffix of "myn" for "man" (hence "Ormin"), it was a common name throughout the Danelaw area of England. The choice between the two forms of the name was probably dictated by the meter. The title of the poem itself, "Ormulum", is modeled on the Latin speculum ("mirror"); it can be interpreted as either the boastful "Reflection of Orm" or the modest "Researches of Orm".


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The Radcliffe Camera in Oxford, England as viewed from the tower of the Church of St Mary the Virgin.

Credit: Diliff

The Radcliffe Camera (colloquially, "Rad Cam" or "Radders") is a building in Oxford, England, designed by James Gibbs in the English Palladian style and built in 17371749 to house the Radcliffe Science Library.

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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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Joseph Johnson (engraving by William Sharp after a painting by Moses Haughton)
Joseph Johnson (15 November 1738 – 20 December 1809) was an influential eighteenth-century London bookseller. His publications covered a wide variety of genres and a broad spectrum of opinions on important issues. Johnson is best known for publishing the works of radical thinkers such as Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, and Joel Barlow as well as religious Dissenters such as Joseph Priestley, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, and Gilbert Wakefield.In the 1760s, Johnson established his publishing business, which focused primarily on religious works. He also became friends with Priestley and the artist Henry Fuseli—two relationships that lasted his entire life and brought him much business. In the 1770s and 1780s, Johnson expanded his business, publishing important works in medicine and children's literature as well as the popular poetry of William Cowper and Erasmus Darwin. Throughout his career, Johnson helped shape the thought of his era not only through his publications, but also through his support of innovative writers and thinkers. He fostered the open discussion of new ideas, particularly at his famous weekly dinners, the regular attendees of which became known as the "Johnson Circle".

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