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Literature and Writing

Book

modern definition, private diary, personal digital assistant, monthly schedule, compact disc

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Book, a volume of many sheets of paper bound together, containing text, illustrations, music, photographs, or other kinds of information. The pages are sewn or glued together on one side and bound between hard or soft paper covers. Because they are relatively durable and portable, books have been used for centuries to preserve and distribute information.

A book is small enough to be carried around, but it is larger than a pamphlet, which generally consists of just a few pieces of paper. Books may form part of a series, but they differ from periodicals and newspapers because they are not published on a strict daily, weekly, or monthly schedule. Unlike a private diary, which may be in book form, a book is intended for public circulation.

The term book is applied by extension to the scrolls used in the ancient world, even though they do not fit the modern definition of a book. In an editorial sense the word book can also refer to some ancient literary works, such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, or to major divisions of a literary work, such as the books of the Bible.

In the mid- and late 20th century, technological advances expanded the definition of the book to include audiobooks and electronic books, or e-books. Audiobooks are recordings made on cassette, compact disc, or downloadable computer programs. Electronic books are portable computerized devices that allow readers to download text and then read it, mark it up, and bookmark it. The term e-book is also used to refer to the concept of a paperless book, whether it is read on a specially designed e-book device, a personal digital assistant (PDA), or a desktop or laptop computer.



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