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A book is a medium for recording information in the form of writing or images, typically composed of many pages (made of papyrus, parchment, vellum, or paper) bound together and protected by a cover. The technical term for this physical arrangement is codex (plural, codices). In the history of hand-held physical supports for extended written compositions or records, the codex replaces its predecessor, the scroll. A single sheet in a codex is a leaf and each side of a leaf is a page.

As an intellectual object, a book is prototypically a composition of such great length that it takes a considerable investment of time to compose and a still considerable, though not so extensive, investment of time to read. In a restricted sense, a book is a self-sufficient section or part of a longer composition, a usage that reflects the fact that, in antiquity, long works had to be written on several scrolls and each scroll had to be identified by the book it contained. Each part of Aristotle's Physics is called a book. In an unrestricted sense, a book is the compositional whole of which such sections, whether called books or chapters or parts, are parts.

The intellectual content in a physical book need not be a composition, nor even be called a book. Books can consist only of drawings, engravings or photographs, crossword puzzles or cut-out dolls. In a physical book, the pages can be left blank or can feature an abstract set of lines to support entries, in an account book, an appointment book, an autograph book, a notebook, a diary or a sketchbook. Some physical books are made with pages thick and sturdy enough to support other physical objects, like a scrapbook or photograph album. Books may be distributed in electronic form as e-books and other formats.

Although in ordinary academic parlance a monograph is understood to be a specialist academic work, rather than a reference work on a scholarly subject, in library and information science monograph denotes more broadly any non-serial publication complete in one volume (book) or a finite number of volumes (even a novel like Proust's seven-volume In Search of Lost Time), in contrast to serial publications like a magazine, journal or newspaper. An avid reader or collector of books is a bibliophile or colloquially, "bookworm". A place where books are traded is a bookshop or bookstore. Books are also sold elsewhere and can be borrowed from libraries. Google has estimated that in 2010, approximately 130,000,000 titles had been published. In some wealthier nations, the sale of printed books has decreased because of the increased usage of e-books.

Book Media

348,663 media by topicpage 1 of 3487
Fragment of a Book Cover

Fragment of a Book Cover

From Palestine, Sbaita

Bridge in Snow

Bridge in Snow

Unidentified Artist Song dynasty (960–1279)

Snow Plum
Fish at play
Gibbon Seated on a Branch

Gibbon Seated on a Branch

Unidentified Artist Yuan dynasty (1271–1368) (?)

Three poems from the “Later Collection of Japanese Poems” (Gosen wakashū), known as the “Karasumaru Fragment” (Karasumaru-gire)

Three poems from the “Later Collection of Japanese Poems” (Gosen wakas...

Traditionally attributed to Fujiwara no Sadayori (Japanese, 995–1045) Heian period (794–1185)

Three Poems from the “Later Collection of Japanese Poems” (Gosen wakashū), or “Shirakawa Fragment” (Shirakawa-gire)

Three Poems from the “Later Collection of Japanese Poems” (Gosen wakas...

Traditionally attributed to Monk Saigyō (Japanese, 1118–1190) Heian period (794–1185)

River Hamlet

River Hamlet

Unidentified Artist Chinese, 12th–13th century Song dynasty (960–1279)

Winter Landscape

Winter Landscape

Unidentified Artist Song dynasty (960–1279

Battle Scene
Xiantang Estuary

Xiantang Estuary

In the style of Xia Gui (Chinese, active ca. 1195–1230) Song dynasty (960–1279)

Men Watching a Waterfall

Men Watching a Waterfall

Unidentified Artist Chinese, 13th century Song dynasty (960–1279)

Narcissus
Wild Geese in Winter

Wild Geese in Winter

Unidentified Artist Chinese, 13th century Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)

Gentlemen Gazing at a Waterfall

Gentlemen Gazing at a Waterfall

Unidentified Artist Song dynasty (960–1279)

Narcissus

Narcissus

Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)