Portal:Books

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Books

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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Title page from the first edition of Original Stories (1788)

Original Stories from Real Life; with Conversations Calculated to Regulate the Affections, and Form the Mind to Truth and Goodness is the only complete work of children's literature by eighteenth-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. Original Stories begins with a frame story, which sketches out the education of two young girls by their maternal teacher Mrs. Mason, proceeded by a series of didactic tales. The book was first published by Joseph Johnson in 1788; a second, illustrated edition, with engravings by William Blake, was released in 1791 and remained in print for around a quarter of a century.In Original Stories Wollstonecraft employs the burgeoning genre of children's literature to promote the education of women and an emerging middle-class ideology. She argues that women can be rational adults if they are educated properly as children (not a widely-held belief in the eighteenth century) and contends that the nascent middle-class ethos is superior to the court culture represented by fairy tales and to the values of chance and luck found in chapbook stories for the poor. Wollstonecraft, in developing her own pedagogy, is also responding to the works of the two most important educational theorists of the eighteenth century: John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Selected image

A panorama showing an almost 180-degree view of the interior of the Reading Room.

Credit: Diliff

The British Museum Reading Room, situated in the centre of the Great Court of the British Museum, used to be the main reading room of the British Library. In 1997, this function moved to the new British Library building at St Pancras, London, but the Reading Room remains in its original form.

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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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Selected biography

Anna Laetitia Barbauld

Anna Laetitia Barbauld (/bɑːrˈbld/, by herself possibly /bɑːrˈb/, as in French) (née Aikin) (June 20, 1743 – March 9, 1825) was a prominent eighteenth-century British poet, essayist, and children's author.A "woman of letters" who published in multiple genres, Barbauld had a successful writing career at a time when female professional writers were rare. She was a noted teacher at the celebrated Palgrave Academy and an innovative children's writer; her famous primers provided a model for pedagogy for more than a century. Her essays demonstrated that it was possible for a woman to be publicly engaged in politics, and other women authors emulated her. Even more importantly, her poetry was foundational to the development of Romanticism in England. Barbauld was also a literary critic, and her anthology of eighteenth-century British novels helped establish the canon as we know it today. Barbauld's literary career ended abruptly in 1812 with the publication of her poem Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, which criticized Britain's participation in the Napoleonic Wars. The vicious reviews shocked Barbauld and she published nothing else within her lifetime.

Selected quote

Did you know...

Celsuslibrary-DK.jpg
  • ...that Celsus Library was built in 135 A.D. and could house around 12,000 scrolls?(Pictured)
  • ...that following the advice of minister Li Si, Emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered the burning of all philosophy books and history books from states other than Qin — beginning in 213 BC?
  • ...that according to the Torah in the fourth year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah the prophet Jeremiah dictated the words of the Lord to Baruch, who wrote them in ink upon a roll of a book?

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