Categorizing Books[edit | edit source]
Books are typically broadly categorized using a genre and a demographic.
Genre[edit | edit source]
Broadly book genres are divided between fiction (Imagined stories) and non-fiction (Covering the real world).
Non-Fiction[edit | edit source]
Popular non-fiction includes cookbooks, diet, self-help, and how-to books.
It is important to note that just because a book is categorized as non-fiction does not guarantee factual accuracy, particularly when dealing with narrative sub-genres such as autobiographies.
Fiction[edit | edit source]
Popular fiction includes fantasy, romance, westerns, and science-fiction.
Demographic[edit | edit source]
Broadly book demographics are split between books for adults and books for children. Further age based demographics for books can be found in books for the elderly, young adults, teenagers, and the very young. Demographics can also be expressed in other ways, with some books being specifically targeted at a specific gender, race, or other identity.
Book Formats[edit | edit source]
Physical Properties[edit | edit source]
Many books are printed in hardcover first and paperback later. Hardcover books are typically more durable, and are seen by some as more prestigious. Paperbacks are cheaper, and are more portable due to their smaller size. The paper used, cover material, and binding of a book are other indications of quality.
Hardcover book from above, showing binding and endbands. This book also includes a ribbon for use as a bookmark.
A paperback book, bent to show flexibility.
Special Properties[edit | edit source]
Books sometimes use special formats, such as large format books or books with braille text for those with reduced vision.
Books often come in multiple editions. The first edition is often most valued by collectors, however later editions are often more useful to readers as these typically feature corrections, additions, and other small improvements.
A signature or handwritten note on the book by the author may or may not increase the value of a book, but it rarely hurts it. Signatures by famous authors, especially those who have been deceased for some time or rarely signed their books, almost always increase the value of the book.
A braille book being read.
This copy of Sinbad of the Coast Guard was signed by not only it's author, but also by the eponymous dog the book was about.
Audiobooks[edit | edit source]
Some books are available as audiobooks - where the contents of the book are audio recorded as spoken word. These books are commonly available as a digital download or on optical disk, though some other formats also exist. These books are commonly used by the literate as a way to read books when it would be undesirable or impossible to read a traditional book. Thus audiobooks are commonly used while working, exercising, on commutes, or other similar scenarios. Audiobooks also possess the obvious quality of being far more accessible to the blind and visually impaired then traditional books. Audiobooks may also be helpful for the illiterate.
Audiobooks sometimes add additional flair to make them more appealing, such as sound effects, music, multiple readers for different characters, or special readers such as readings by celebrities or by the author.
E-books[edit | edit source]
A number of books are distributed electronically, as e-books. Consumers who opt for e-books may find both advantages and disadvantages over traditional books. While cost savings in production and distribution are often not passed to the consumer, e-books are often slightly cheaper then their physical counterparts, and some e-books are distributed for free (Either gratis or libre). While early e-books were sometimes shipped on dedicated computer storage devices, modern e-books are often simply downloaded, with readers being able to easily house whole libraries and bookstores in their pocket or at home.
Book Paraphernalia[edit | edit source]
A number of items are commonly used alongside books, including bookmarks, reading glasses, and book lights. There are even books meant to accompany other books, such as study guides for specific pieces of literature.
Readers[edit | edit source]
Communication theorists consider book readers to be "opinion makers."