The Categories of Books

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To gain an understanding of the categories of books, it is necessary to know that books are divided into various sub segments.

We offer a basic description of each:

Adult trade books. Trade books are those created predominantly for the consumer and sold primarily through bookstores. They are also purchased by libraries for rental and reference. Among the categories of adult trade books are: cookbooks, health and recovery, mystery and suspense, romance, science fiction and fantasy, travel, biography, public affairs, gardening, poetry, sports, popular medicine, and the largest category, popular and classic fiction.

Religious books such as bibles, prayer books, devotional literature fiction and nonfiction also fit under the trade book umbrella. Many of these come from publishers whose output is exclusively religious books. In addition, some large general publishers such as Harper Collins have a religious book division. Others like Macmillan, Knopf, and Ballantine publish religious books as part of their regular lists.

Religious books are sold at conventional bookstores, religious bookstores, and at houses of worship. Bibles and other religious books are sometimes sold door to door. There are about thirty five hundred religious bookstores in the United States.

Children's books (sometimes referred to as "juveniles").

Children's books include story and picture books for various age levels. These books are produced by trade book publishers and sold to retailers and to public and school libraries.

University press books. University press books are the products of the publishing offices attached to universities and colleges. They are issued largely to serve the specialized needs of the academic world and to college, university, and reference libraries. Many university presses also publish scholarly journals and textbooks.

Mass market paperback books. Mass market paperbacks are most often reprints of fiction and nonfiction books originally published as hardbound trade books. However, some are published only in the paperback format. They are softbound, smaller in size, printed on less expensive paper, and sell for a lower price than hardbound trade books.

Mail order publications. These books are produced expressly for a consumer audience that purchases them as a result of a direct mail or direct marketing solicitation. They are usually nonfiction books offering self help and self education on different subjects. Many of these books are sold as part of a series.

Book club books. Trade book publishers often license their books to book clubs that produce special editions sold through subscription sales plans.

Professional books. The professional category encompasses books for individuals that serve as educational tools in their professions and trades. They include technical, scientific, medical, legal, business, and reference materials. The field also includes directories and many professional journals.

College textbooks and educational materials. This category comprises books produced especially for college level instruction and supplementary study. They are also used in adult continuing education programs.

Elementary and high school textbooks and learning materials.

This category is sometimes known as "elhi" and encompasses all the books, teaching manuals, workbooks, guides, computerized learning programs, audiovisuals, and teaching aids produced for schools. They are sold directly to schools and school systems.

Subscription reference books. The rather substantial market of encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, and other reference works make up the subscription reference category division of publishing. These books are produced by large staffs of editors at reference divisions of publishers or by companies who publish them exclusively. Subscription reference books are sold through the mail, door to door, and to bookstores.

Summing Up

The largest categories are trade books, hardbound and paper bound. About thirteen hundred publishers produce books in this area. Some are small, publishing fewer than a dozen titles each year; others are large companies that publish a few hundred titles a year and are often owned by large communications companies.

In the Literary Market Place (LMP) listings there are about 75 publishers of dictionaries and encyclopedias, 22 of maps and atlases, 225 of juvenile and young adult books, and 340 of college textbooks.

There are also publishers that specialize in books on religion, nature, art, humor, travel, politics, crafts, and such special interests as spiritual science, hiking and river guides, poetry, science fiction and fantasy, psychiatry, and psychology. There's at least one publisher that produces blank books. If you have a strong special interest, consult LMP when you go job hunting. Book publishing's diversity may help you get the right job.
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