Wikipedia:Notability (books)

This guideline provides some additional criteria for use in deciding whether a book should or should not have an article on Wikipedia. Satisfying this notability guideline generally indicates a book warrants an article.

A book that meets either the general notability guideline or the criteria outlined in this or any other subject-specific notability guideline, and which is not excluded under the What Wikipedia is not policy, is presumed to merit an article.

This is not an absolute guarantee that there will necessarily be a separate, stand-alone article entirely dedicated to that book. Editors may use their discretion to merge or group two or more related topics into a single article.

Failure to satisfy the criteria outlined in this guideline (or any other notability guideline) is not a criterion for speedy deletion.

The criteria provided by this guideline are rough criteria. They are not exhaustive. Accordingly, a book may be notable, and merit an article, for reasons not particularized in this or any other notability guideline.

Claims of notability must adhere to Wikipedia's policy on verifiability. It is not enough to simply assert that a book meets a criterion. Verifiable reliable sources that substantiate that claim must actually exist.

"Notability" is not a reflection of a book's merit. A book may be brilliantly written, fascinating and topical, while still not being notable enough to ensure sufficient verifiable source material exists to create an encyclopedia article about that book.

Coverage notes


Though the concept of a "book" is widely defined, this guideline does not provide specific notability criteria for the following types of publications: comic books; graphic novels (although it does apply to manga); magazines; reference works such as dictionaries, thesauruses, encyclopedias, atlases and almanacs; music-specific publications such as instruction and notation books and librettos; instruction manuals; and exam prep books. Specific guidelines may be developed. Until then, this guideline may be instructive by analogy.

The criteria set forth below apply to books in electronic form (e-books) as well as to traditional books. An e-book that does not meet the criteria of this guideline is nevertheless notable if it meets the criteria of the notability guideline for web-specific content. An e-book that meets the criteria of this guideline does not need to meet the criteria of that guideline in order to be notable.



A book is presumed notable if it verifiably meets, through reliable sources, at least one of the following criteria:

  1. The book has been the subject[1] of two or more non-trivial[2] published works appearing in sources that are independent of the book itself.[3] This can include published works in all forms, such as newspaper articles, other books, television documentaries, bestseller lists,[4] and reviews. This excludes media re-prints of press releases, flap copy, or other publications where the author, its publisher, agent, or other self-interested parties advertise or speak about the book.[5]
  2. The book has won a major literary award.
  3. The book has been considered by reliable sources to have made a significant contribution to any of the sciences, humanities or arts, or to a notable or significant motion picture, or other art form, or event or political or religious movement.
  4. The book is, or has been, the subject of instruction at two or more schools,[6] colleges, universities or post-graduate programs in any particular country.[7]
  5. The book's author is so historically significant that any of the author's written works may be considered notable. This does not simply mean that the book's author is notable by Wikipedia's standards; rather, the book's author is of exceptional significance and the author's life and body of written work would be a common subject of academic study.

The five preceding criteria do not necessarily apply to books excluded by the threshold standards, and do not apply to not-yet-published books.

Other considerations


Threshold standards


A book should, at a minimum, be catalogued by its country of origin's official or de facto national library (if that country has such a national library). For example, in the United States books are catalogued by the Library of Congress; in the United Kingdom at the British Library; in Australia at the National Library of Australia; in Canada by Library and Archives Canada; in France at the Bibliothèque nationale de France; in Singapore at the National Library Board; in Brazil by the Fundação Biblioteca Nacional; in Argentina at Biblioteca Nacional de la República Argentina; and in India at the National Library of India. For a complete list, see List of national libraries.

However, these criteria are exclusionary rather than inclusionary; meeting these threshold standards does not imply that a book is notable, whereas a book which does not meet them, most likely is not. There will be exceptions—books that are notable despite not meeting these threshold standards—but good reasons for the notability of such books should be clear.

A book included in Project Gutenberg or an analogous project does not need to meet the threshold standards.

Articles that are plot summaries


Wikipedia should not have a standalone article about a book if it is not possible, without including original research or unverifiable content, to write an article on that book that complies with the policy that Wikipedia articles should not be summary-only descriptions of works, contained in criterion 1 of WP:INDISCRIMINATE.



Self-publication and/or publication by a vanity press do not correlate with notability.[8] Exceptions do exist, such as Robert Gunther's Early Science in Oxford and Edgar Allan Poe's Tamerlane, but both of these books would be considered notable by virtue (for instance) of criterion 1.

Many vanity press books are assigned ISBN numbers, may be listed in a national library, may be found through a Google Books search, and may be sold at large online book retailers. None of these things is evidence of notability.

Books by Wikipedians


That a Wikipedia article on a book has been created by the author of that book or by any other interested party such as an editor or member of the editorial staff of that book has no bearing on whether or not that book is notable, though it does mean the person creating or editing that article has a conflict of interest and is expected to abide by the relevant Wikipedia guideline with regard to conflict-of-interest editing and the mandatory disclosure requirements for paid editing by the Wikimedia Foundation's terms of use. See Wikipedia:Conflict of interest and Wikipedia:Autobiography for more information. Failure to properly disclose a COI may result in the blocking of a user's account, though it is not necessarily a basis for nominating the associated article for deletion.

Online bookstores


A book's listing at online bookstores Barnes & and is not an indication of notability because the websites include large numbers of vanity press publications. A listing at any other online bookstore that includes large numbers of vanity press publications should be treated in the same way.

Not-yet-published books


Articles about books that are not yet published are accepted only if they are not excluded by the Wikipedia is not a crystal ball policy, and only under criteria other than those provided by this guideline, typically because the anticipation of the book is notable in its own right. In such cases there should be independent sources which provide strong evidence that the book will be published, and which include the title of the book and an approximate date of publication.

Non-contemporary books


The vast majority of books whose Wikipedia articles are nominated for deletion, and whose notability could reasonably be called into question, are contemporary. Nevertheless, the notability of books written or published earlier may occasionally be disputed and the criteria specified above, intended primarily for contemporary books, may be unsuitable because they would be too restrictive and would exclude articles on books that are worthy of notice.

Common sense should prevail. In such cases, possible bases for a finding of notability include, in particular, how widely the book has been cited or written about, the number of editions of the book, whether it has been reprinted, the fame that the book enjoys or enjoyed in the past, its place in the history of literature, its value as a historical source and its age.

Academic and technical books


Academic and technical books serve a very different function and come to be published through very different processes than do books intended for the general public. They are often highly specialized, have small printing runs, and may only be available in specialized libraries and bookstores. For these reasons, most of the standards for mainstream books are inapplicable to the academic field because they would be too restrictive and would exclude articles on books that are worthy of notice. Again, common sense should prevail. In such cases, possible bases for a finding of notability include, in particular, whether the book is published by an academic press,[9] how widely the book is cited by other academic publications or in the media,[10] the number of editions of the book, whether one or more translations of the book have been published, how influential the book is considered to be in its specialty area, or adjunct disciplines, and whether it is, or has been, taught, or required reading, in one or more reputable educational institutions.

Derivative articles


Articles on books should not be split and split again into ever more minutiae of detail treatment, with each split normally lowering the level of notability. While a book may be notable, it is not normally advisable to have a separate article on a character or thing from the book, and it is often the case that despite the book being manifestly notable, a derivative article from it is not. Exceptions do exist, especially in the case of very famous books. For example, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol clearly warrants a side article on its protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge. When a book has been split too finely to support the notability of individual subtopics, merging content back into the book's article is appropriate.

In some situations—for example, if a given book itself does not appear to be notable, but the author is notable—it may be more appropriate to feature material about the book in the author's article rather than creating a separate article for that book. It may sometimes be appropriate to merge an article on a book into an article that is a bibliography or list of books. This might, for example, facilitate the inclusion of material on anonymous works that, because those works are anonymous, cannot be merged into their authors' articles. If, in such a case, the book cannot be merged only because the notable author's article, or the bibliography or list of books, does not currently exist, consider writing the author's article, or the bibliography or list, yourself or request that it be written.


  • Clicking on any linked ISBN number on Wikipedia takes you to Special:Booksources where preformatted links for the specific book are provided, allowing access to multiple library catalogues, bookseller databases and other book resources.
    This might be an issue as different formats of a book (i.e. ebook, audiobook, printed book) will have different ISBNs, and they will often not be sequential, especially for older books that were originally published before ebooks or audiobooks existed.
  • The British Library's online catalogue[11]
  • The Library of Congress online catalog:[12] a searchable database useful in identifying publisher, edition, etc.
  • The Literary Encyclopedia:[13] 3,300 profiles of authors, works and literary and historical topics and references of 18,000 works.
  • Norton Anthology of World Literature:[14] useful in the exploration of world literature.
  • WorldCat:[15] search for a book in library catalogues. Contains 1.8 billion items in 18,000 libraries worldwide.


See also



  1. ^ a b The "subject" of a work means non-trivial treatment and excludes mere mention of the book, its author or of its publication, price listings and other nonsubstantive detail treatment.
  2. ^ a b "Non-trivial" excludes personal websites, blogs, bulletin boards, Usenet posts, wikis and other media that are not themselves reliable. An analysis of the manner of treatment is crucial as well; for example is reliable, but postings to that site by members of the public on a subject do not share the site's imprimatur. Be careful to check that the author, publisher, agent, vendor, etc. of a particular book are in no way interested in any third-party source.
  3. ^ a b Independent does not mean independent of the publishing industry, but only refers to those actually involved with the particular book.
  4. ^ a b A book's inclusion in a reliable bestseller list is non-trivial treatment if the list is notable or the list is published by a notable media outlet and the list is republished or covered by other reliable sources. Bestseller lists in retailer or e-commerce sources like Amazon or self-published sources like personal websites, blogs, bulletin boards, wikis, and similar media are not considered reliable. Social media review sites like Goodreads and LibraryThing do not qualify for this criterion.
  5. ^ a b Self-promotion and product placement are not the routes to having an encyclopedia article. The published works must be someone else writing about the book. (See Wikipedia:Autobiography for the verifiability and neutrality problems that affect material where the subject of the article itself is the source of the material). The barometer of notability is whether people independent of the subject itself (or of its author, publisher, vendor or agent) have actually considered the book notable enough that they have written and published non-trivial works that focus upon it.
  6. ^ a b This includes both primary and secondary schools.
  7. ^ a b This criterion does not include textbooks or reference books written specifically for study in educational programs, but only independent works deemed sufficiently significant to be the subject of study themselves, such as major works in philosophy, literature, or science.
  8. ^ Certain print-on-demand book publishers, such as PublishAmerica, claim to be "traditional" advance- and royalty-paying publishers rather than vanity presses. Regardless of exact definitions, PublishAmerica and similar presses are to be considered vanity presses for purposes of assessing notability based on the manner works are published through them.
  9. ^ Publication by a prominent academic press should be accorded far more weight than the analogous benchmark defined for publication of mainstream book by well known commercial publishers, by virtue of the non-commercial nature of such presses, and the peer review process that some academic books must pass before publication is allowed to go forward. See university presses for a partial list of such presses. Note that because a large portion of (en.)Wikipedia articles are written by English speaking people from English speaking nations, this list currently has an English speaking bias.
  10. ^ A book's subject may be so specialized, such as in the esoteric math or physics spheres, that only a few hundred (or fewer) people in the world are situated to understand and comment on the material.
  11. ^ "". 1994-11-06. Retrieved 2014-01-04.
  12. ^ "". 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2014-01-04.
  13. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-01-04.
  14. ^ "Norton Anthology of World Literature: W. W. Norton StudySpace". Retrieved 2014-01-04.
  15. ^ Time:1:47. "". Retrieved 2014-01-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)