The terms ‘Book’ and ‘Novel’ are often used interchangeably in many cases, which blur their true distinctions in the process. As a writer or author, its important to be able to tell the difference between a Novel and a Book so you don’t embarrass yourself by using one term or another in a non-ideal situation- which leads us to the topic of Book versus Novel.
This article presents the glaring variations as well as the subtle ones between these two terms.
Let’s get started!
Definition of a Book
A book is a form of written or published literature on a specific topic. You can also define it as a combination of written words related to a particular field of focus. For example, a written piece on the subject of World War I or II by PhD students is a book.
The goal of writing books is to increase the knowledge of readers on a particular subject. The subject can be works of fiction, nonfiction or an amalgamation of both.
Fantasy books are a type of literature that offer narratives on imaginary characters and scenes. Nonfiction books, on the other hand, are written pieces providing educational, factual and theoretical research. Therefore, you are safe to say that all books are nonfiction except for novels.
Those who write books are referred to as authors but they can also be called writers. Book authors essentially discuss the fundamentals of the topic they want to dive in, investigate and elaborate the protocols involving the basics and improve the readers’ knowledge, actively or passively. They provide such information in different forms, such as texts, charts, graphs and images to foster practical and theoretical instruction.
The term book also applies to e-book. E-books are becoming increasingly popular in the modern technological world, where digital publishing on platforms such as Amazon is highly marketable. E-book publishing introduces various formats to make documents easily accessible by readers, such as PDF and EPUB.
Lastly, a book can be defined as a collection of cover-to-cover blank sheets for writing. A good example is an exercise book typically used in schools and other learning institutions. However, this definition is unrelated to our context of the difference between a book and a novel.
Definition of a Novel
A novel is a crafted piece of fictional work that entices and entertains readers with poetic channels. The aim of writing a novel is to narrate a story from the perspective of the novelist.
A novelist is simply a novel author or writer. Rather than emphasizing a subject matter, novelists narrate fictional stories in a forty thousand words masterpiece if needed be.
Novels are categorized into several genres including fantasy, science fiction, romance, melodrama, thriller, crime, teen drama, horror etc.
Novelists create stories in various spotlights to display some issues in society- either to provoke thought and encourage one to take a stand or magnify a reader’s comprehension of societal problems.
Novelists ideally pinpoint such issues through the actions and drawbacks of their characters. A novel usually contains up to sixty thousand words.
Typically, a novel is bigger than a book.
The Comparisons between a Book and a Novel
By now you know that both books and novels are written and printed documents of informative material, either creative, educative or entertaining made to serve different roles.
However, always note that all published books consist of novels as well, so novels are books but not all books are novels.
The table below offers a clear comparison between a book and a novel:
|A handwritten masterpiece consisting of both fiction and nonfiction.||A long written piece describing fictional characters and situations.|
|A blank sheet of several pages fastened together.||It is written or printed on a book.|
|Can be fiction or nonfiction.||All novels are fiction.|
|Refers to works of literature.||It is a type of book.|
Subtle Distinctions between a Book and a Novel
An autobiography is a book that offers the real-life story of a certain person, crafted by him or her to elaborate on personal life experiences. However, some fiction elements are used in autobiographies to attain the desired excitement. In such a case, the autobiography containing fictional contexts is known as an autobiography novel.
While novels are divided into different genres, they only contain stories and nothing more. Books, on the other hand, range from poetry to field-based journals, including stories and workbooks.
As opposed to novels, books have existed since time immemorial. Take for example the antique writings of the Bible, Bhagavad Gita and the Quran. They are all tagged as books. Alternatively, novels emerged from the 9th century. The creation of printing press technology in Europe led to the world’s pioneer modern novelist Miguel de Cervantes, writer of Don Quixote.
Novels vary from books in terms of structure. Novelists employ structural aspects of enthralling storytelling such as story plot, character development, setting and theme. They arouse some emotional response in the audience while books don’t, except to assist in learning. Nonfiction books are null of sensation except for poetry collections.
Books are primarily sources of information while novels are sources of entertainment. It would be unsettling if you picked up a textbook because you find it thrilling!
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The Similarities between a Book and a Novel
Apart from their contextual differences, books and novels have their characteristic similarities. First, we saw that novels are a subset of books, so all novels are ideal books.
The features that are similar to both books and novels are highlighted below:
Content: Books and novels are both reading materials. Observantly, you will see that both are divided into chapters to make it easier for reference and organization.
Information: The main goal of reading either a book or a novel is to harvest information. Whether for entertainment or education, both materials are sources of information.
A medium of delivery: Both books and novels are written or printed on confined paper materials. Self-publishing is increasingly becoming popular these days, which means that both books and novels can be sourced digitally. Overall, they still have the same modes of content delivery.
We hope this article has helped you draw the line between a novel and a book. Remember that all published novels are books yet not all books are novels. You can courageously refer to a novel as a book but for the sake of accuracy, it is best to indicate the kind of book you are referring to. Ultimately, a novel is a book that features stories and has at least 40,000 words.
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