A book is a set or collection of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of paper, parchment, or other various material, usually fastened together to hinge at one side. A single sheet within a book is called a leaf, and each side of a leaf is called a page. A book produced in electronic format is known as an electronic book (e-book).

Books may also refer to a literature work, or a main division of such a work. In library and information science, a book is called a monograph, to distinguish it from serial periodicals such as magazines, journals or newspapers. The body of all written works including books is literature. In novels, a book may be divided into several large sections, also called books (Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, etc). A lover of books is usually referred to as a bibliophile, a bibliophilist, or a philobiblist, or, more informally, a bookworm.

A store where books are bought and sold is a bookstore or bookshop. Books can also be borrowed from libraries.


The word book comes from Old English “boc” which comes from Germanic root “*bok-“, cognate to beech. Similarly, in Slavic languages (e.g. Russian and Bulgarian “?????” (bukva)—”letter”) is cognate to “beech”. It is thus conjectured that the earliest Indo-European writings may have been carved on beech wood. Similarly, the Latin word codex, meaning a book in the modern sense (bound and with separate leaves), originally meant “block of wood.”


1. Belly band
2. Flap
3. Endpaper
4. Book cover
5. Top edge
6. Fore edge
7. Tail edge
8. Right page, recto
9. Left page, verso
10. Gutter

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
* Flyleaf: The blank leaf or leaves following the front free endpaper.
* Front matter
o Frontispiece
o Title page
o Copyright page: typically verso of title page: shows copyright owner/date, credits, edition/printing, cataloguing details
o Table of contents
o List of figures
o List of tables
o Dedication
o Acknowledgments
o Foreword
o Preface
o Introduction

Binding of a book from separate papers

* Body: the text or contents, the pages often collected or folded into signatures; the pages are usually numbered sequentially, and often divided into chapters.
* Back matter
o Appendix
o Glossary
o Index
o Notes
o Bibliography
o Colophon
* Flyleaf: The blank leaf or leaves (if any) preceding the back free endpaper.
* Rear endpaper
* Rear cover

A thin marker, commonly made of paper or card, used to keep one’s place in a book is a bookmark. Bookmarks were used throughout the medieval period, consisting usually of a small parchment strip attached to the edge of folio (or a piece of cord attached to headband). Bookmarks in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were narrow silk ribbons bound into the book and become widespread in the 1850s. They were usually made from silk, embroidered fabrics or leather. Not until the 1880s did paper and other materials become more common.

The process of physically assembling a book from a number of folded or unfolded sheets of paper is bookbinding.

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