What is a Book?

It’s not a trick question—What is a book? — but I‘m finding it a little difficult to answer. If you check the dictionary the answer entails the explanation of pages of “written or printed sheets bound together between a front and back cover”. If you read far enough the term “eBook” appears. There are also audio books. Therein lies the difficulty in answering the question—what exactly is a book?  

Is a book what we hold in our hands or the words inside? Today a lot of emphasis is placed on book covers and how they can draw or deter a reader. Early books had no color or special design to announce what they were about. Title and author are all that was offered. Early books were hard bound, with paper jackets becoming popular along the way with colorful designs showcasing book content. In 1935 paperbacks appeared and with them graphics or photos on the covers themselves to help capture a customer’s attention and further show the contents of the books. eBooks first appeared in 1971. Electronic tablets and cell phones also came into existence and great use. While we still hold these devices in our hands, they offer a different reading experience—with pros and cons. Then came audio books, a wonderful invention, especially for those with sight difficulties. 

As a modern-day author, I must concern myself with the answer to the question and realize, unlike days gone by, books come in more than one format. I must realize some readers prefer books with paper pages. Others prefer e-readers. Others enjoy audiobooks. For those who want to hold an old-fashioned book with paper pages, I concern myself not only with titles and paper bound formatting but engaging cover designs. For those reading on electronic devices, I must make sure the content is formatted well for e-readers. I want the reading experience for each type of reader to be pleasant. Not to leave out the audio book, I want the voice of the reader—quite possibly myself—to be pleasing to the ear of the listener and the recording to be well edited. Many audio book users listen while commuting or traveling. I wish to be a pleasant companion with a story worth listening to.  

These are just some of the things modern day authors deal with. We strive to make our books look appealing on top of offering valuable content. We write our stories—fiction and nonfiction or share useful information—to the best of our abilities, have them edited, proofread, and eventually published in the most attractive manner possible, inside and out. 

Authors want to hone their skills and share with readers books they will enjoy or benefit from, no matter which way they choose to read. 

As a member of Christian Authors Community and Services, I have found much help and training in all aspects of writing, publishing, and presenting books to readers, as well as enjoying camaraderie with other authors.  

Nancy Kuykendall 



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