10 Fun Facts About Books Every Bibliophile Should Know (2024)

Impress all your friends with these bookish tidbits.


Nicole Klett | Published Aug 20, 2021

If you’re reading this, we know you love books! (Thank you for being here, by the way.) But how much do you really know about the medium of books? Just when you thought you couldn’t possibly love them more, we thought we’d give you even more reasons to #iheartbooks.

1. The first eBook is 50 years old

It’s hard to believe that eBooks have been around since 1971. Well, they have and they haven’t; meaning that the first eBook was actually the Declaration of Independence loaded onto the computer network of the University of Illinois as part of Project Gutenburg.

It may not have been the eBook we know and love today, but Project Gutenburg was started in 1971 with the purpose of digitizing and collecting literary works in order to make them accessible to large numbers of readers…for free!

Related: How to Get Free eBooks

2. Books are traditionally only published in paperback after interest in the hardback dies down

Speaking of digital books, you may wonder about the thought process behind publishing the paper versions. It has long been a tradition to publish a book first in hardback. Apparently, the form’s big size and heftiness conveys that the book is seriously good and will be seen on tables and displays in stores easily.

And what about the cousin to hardbacks? There’s actually no set time for a book to go into paperback edition. If a book is doing well enough that people will still pay for the hardback, then the printing will stay in that form longer than the average six to twelve month move to paperback. For instance, the blockbuster hit Where the Crawdads Singby Delia Owens came out August 14, 2018. This mysterious tale of murder and a misunderstood marsh girl only came out in paperback on March 30, 2021, nearly three years after its release.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Publishers who want to immediately set a lower price point for a title may choose to skip a hardcover edition.

3. An average novel is between 50,000 and 120,000 words

As readers, we tend to think of a book’s length in terms of how many pages it is. For a writer, the length is in word count. Many authors use the metric of how many words per day they write to see if they are on track. On average, a novel can be written in six to twelve months. This is just the down and dirty of getting it on paper though, without edits.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Waotook Junot Diaz 10 years to write, ironically. Diaz ran into difficulty with continuing the story and took a break before ultimately returning to it and finishing. (Another fun fact: writers have differing opinions on if writer’s block is real.) Oh, this book about a Dominican-American boy growing into himself in the midst of a family curse is 139,250 words or 340 pages in hardcover.

Related: How Long Is a Short Story vs a Novella?

10 Fun Facts About Books Every Bibliophile Should Know (1)

4. The larva of a wood-boring beetle is an endearing name for voracious readers

Don’t take offense. The term "bookworm" is born from actual creatures that feed off of the paper and glue binding of books. There are several different types of insects that find books as amazing as we humans do. The term became popular in 1500s Britain and was actually a negative commentary on a person.

Elizabethan times were tough for lovers of books, and people in general. If you’re interested in learning more about that time, read A Discovery of Witchesby Deborah Harkness, which introduces us to a witch who doesn’t know she’s a witch (kind of like an adult version of Harry Potter with time travel and vampires thrown in).

5. There are approximately 2.6 million libraries in the world

Sometimes I think that I alone am housing a great percentage of the world’s books when I take a look around my house. In actuality, there are many houses for books all around the world, according to the organization International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. This doesn’t even include all of those cute little lending libraries you see in neighborhoods and around towns.

The U.S. Library of Congress was founded in 1800 and is the largest library in the world. Speaking of other amazing things going on in the 1800s, What Regency Women Did for Usby Rachel Knowles chronicles real life pioneering women establishing or dismantling important institutions or norms of the time. Check it out! (See what I did there?)

Want more great books? Sign up for the Early Bird Books newsletter and get the best daily ebook deals delivered straight to your inbox.

6. Pseudonyms are more than patriarchy busting

You probably already know that in order to get published in the past, many women writers had to protect their identities by using pseudonyms. But did you know that using a fake name also helped marginalized authors get published in the first place or authors already known for a certain genre of writing get published in another? How? The veil of a pseudonym can erase any preconceptions that a publishing house, or the public, might have about the ethnicity, gender or celebrity of an author’s name.

These days many men actually publish with gender neutral names to win over the predominantly female book buying market. Take J. Sanclemente, author of You Have to Tell, a thriller about a murdered journalist and the lengths people will go to get content on (and off) social media. His first name is José, but using the J makes his identity more mysterious.

10 Fun Facts About Books Every Bibliophile Should Know (3)

7. Books beget books

Many authors knew early on the answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But what about regular book fans who find themselves writing because they were inspired by a specific book or book series? It’s called fanfiction and usually, it’s just a cool way to extend the world/feeling created by another author.

Sometimes though, these fans become famous authors themselves. By now, you probably know the story of how author EL James was such a big fan of the Twilightseries that she went on to write the blockbuster series that also made it to the theaters known as Fifty Shades of Grey.

And if you wanna go completely Meta, check out Rainbow Rowell’s book Fangirlwhere she writes about a fictional author of fanfiction who is inspired by the real-life Rowell and her real-life books. Confused, yet?

8. Banned Books Week is a thing

It should come as no surprise that since books are a medium to share thoughts, ideas and information, they can be viewed as a threat to some and have been censored through the ages. This can be on the grounds of objections to the content, the author, and more. And while Banned Books Week may sound like it’s a week to ban books, it’s actually an annual celebration of all books and the refusal to allow any voices to be silenced.

Banned Books Week usually occurs at the end of September/beginning of October. And if you want to celebrate any time, you can read Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides about a man coming to grips with his family’s past including his sister’s death by suicide, which got the book banned in West Virginia and Texas.

Related: 42 Banned Books That Are Still Powerful Today

9. Fairy Tales are for grown ups

Don’t tell Disney, but fairy tales aren’t actually for the kids. These tales have origins in the oral stories of thousands of years ago. People would share stories, or even act them out with their own variations thrown in, to either entertain or inform. The creating of tales even became a famous parlor game in the 17th century and eventually, writers like the Brothers Grimm began to document the stories in books.

These tales from all over the world do have universal themes, but are often rather gruesome and contain harsh lessons. Over the years, fairy tales have come to be more associated with children and “happily ever after” than as the cautionary tales of old. Even now, fairy tales are getting revamped.

Want a fresh take on a fantasy world? The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert follows Alice into a world that she thought her grandmother had made up to sell books but it turns out it, and the creatures in it, are very real.

10. Movies and streaming services need good books

Whether you prefer a book or its adaptation is a discussion for another time, but the fact is that without books, the film and tv streaming industries would be without a major source of content. In fact, Dartmouth Library has quoted that up to 51% of films are based on book adaptations and these films tend to bring in more money than non-adaptations.

It’s difficult to know the percentage of books made into film or series. In fact, some books get multiple shots at adaptations. Take Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, for instance. There are at least 13 different versions of the book made into movies, ballet, opera, theater and a mini-series. Don’t be surprised when the novel you read last year finds its way to the Netflix "Coming Soon" queue.

Now you know!

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Featured photo: Ed Robertson / Unsplash


10 Fun Facts About Books Every Bibliophile Should Know (2024)


Who made the first book? ›

Around the 2nd or 3rd century CE, the Romans began to create the first "books". A codex was an ancient book form in which individual sheets of papyrus, parchment, or paper were folded in half and sewn together at the fold. The reader would open the pages to reveal two columns of text that shared a page.

What is an interesting fact about famous novels? ›

Victor Hugo wrote the longest sentence ever printed in the novel Les Miserables. Victor Hugo wrote the longest sentence ever printed and most noteworthy, the novel Les Miserables has a total of 823 words in one sentence. Above all, Les Miserables became one of the greatest novels in the 19th century.

What are 5 facts about reading? ›

Here are the most amazing facts about reading and its importance for us as people and as a society.
  • Illiteracy is a constant problem. ...
  • Reading reduces stress. ...
  • Reading is like cardio for your brain. ...
  • Reading lowers blood pressure and heart rate. ...
  • Reading delays the onset of age-related mental issues.

What are the 5 facts of fiction? ›

It's a set of five ideas that, when applied to any novel, help the reviewer develop a complex critical interpretation.
  • Fact #1: Fiction is all about a character. ...
  • Fact #3: Fiction is all about how your character gets or does not get what he or she wants. ...
  • Fact #5: Fiction is all about a world an author creates.

What are the 3 big questions in reading? ›

The Three Big Questions strategy challenges readers to annotate in the margins by marking passages that answer the questions: "What surprised me?", "What did the author think I already knew?", and "What challenged, changed, or confirmed what I already knew?".

What are the 4 basic questions a reader asks? ›

The Four Basic Questions a Reader Should Ask
  • What is the book about as a whole? Discover the theme of the book and how the author develops it.
  • What is being said in detail and how? Discover the author's main ideas, assertions, and arguments.
  • Is the book true, in whole or part? ...
  • What is the significance of this book?
Mar 25, 2016

How old is the oldest book? ›

The oldest extant printed book is a work of the Diamond Sutra and dates back to 868 CE, during the Tang Dynasty.

What is the oldest book of all time? ›

A Buddhist holy text, the Diamond Sūtra is considered to be the oldest surviving dated printed book in the world. Found in a walled up cave in China along with other printed materials, the book is made up of Chinese characters printed on a scroll of grey printed paper, wrapped along a wooden pole.

What is the oldest written book? ›

While Shuruppak's fatherly wisdom is one of the most ancient examples of written literature, history's oldest known fictional story is probably the “Epic of Gilgamesh,” a mythic poem that first appeared as early as the third millennium B.C. The adventure-filled tale centers on a Sumerian king named Gilgamesh who is ...

What is an interesting quote about books? ›

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new after all.” “The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can't.” “Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.” “I guess there are never enough books.”

What makes a book more interesting? ›

Effective stories (whether novels, short stories, screenplays or other formats) have dramatic content and change, engaging structure and rhythm, believable and memorable characters, cohesion, an effective beginning, middle and ending, and so much more.

What makes books so interesting? ›

But what makes a book good? A captivating story and character development are always key indicators for me, which explains why I would much rather read a book than watch a movie. The author needs to be able to write the story in a way that attracts a reader and keeps the reader's attention.

What are 2 facts about reading? ›

And these surprising reading facts prove it:
  • Reading reduces stress by 68 percent . ...
  • Owning your own books matters. ...
  • It doesn't take much to read a lot of words. ...
  • And all that reading pays off. ...
  • Reading is the fastest way to build vocabulary. ...
  • Classroom libraries rule. ...
  • Every book counts.
Aug 8, 2019

What are the 7 purposes of reading? ›

According to Grabe William and L. Fredrika (2002), the category of purpose for reading includes are: reading to search for simple information, reading to skim quickly, reading to learn from text, reading to integrate information, reading to write, reading to critique texts and reading for general comprehension.

What are the 9 elements of fiction? ›

To recap, the 9 elements of a story are main theme, characters, setting, tension, climax, resolution, plot, purpose and chronology.

What are 4 elements of fiction? ›

The Four Elements of Fiction: Character, Setting, Situation, and Theme is a detailed discussion about the importance of how the four elements of fiction must relate to one another in order to produce a page-turner.

What are the 6 elements of fiction? ›

Characters, setting, plot, conflict, point of view, and theme are six key elements for writing fiction. Characters are the people, animals, or aliens in the story. Readers come to know the characters through what they say, what they think, and how they act.

What is a thick question in reading? ›

A thick question is a question that requires. more than a one or two word response. It deals. with the big picture and large concepts. Thick answers are involved, complex, and open ended.

What are some higher order thinking questions for reading? ›

Clarify- “What do you mean?” Elaborate- “Can you say more about that?” Explain- “Why do you think so?” “How did you figure that out?” Provide Evidence-“What did you see in the text that made you think that?” “Can you give an example from the book?”

What are the 5 levels of reading? ›

The five stages of literacy development include emergent literacy, alphabetic fluency, words and patterns, intermediate reading, and advanced reading.

What questions hook a reader? ›

Hooks that create questions in the reader's mind are the easiest kind to come up with. Does what you've written make the reader ask: who, how, what, where, why, or what's going on?

What are the 5 questions for reading comprehension? ›

But too often, I find myself relying solely on the 5 W's of comprehension questions: who, what, where, when, and why.

What are 10 open-ended questions? ›

10 examples of open-ended questions
  • Why did you apply for this position?
  • Explain how you manage tight deadlines at work.
  • What are your biggest strengths and why?
  • Why do you think you're the right candidate for this position?
  • Why did you leave your previous position?
  • Where do you see yourself in the future?
May 26, 2023

What questions to ask before reading a book? ›

Before Reading
  • What do you think this book will be about?
  • Is this story fiction or nonfiction? How do you know?
  • What does the title tell me about this book?
May 1, 2022

What is the oldest overdue book? ›

The Guinness World Record for an unreturned and overdue library book is held by a book owned by Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. The history book, written in German, was borrowed in 1667 or 1668 by Colonel Robert Walpole, the father of Sir Robert Walpole, regarded as the first prime minister of Great Britain.

What is the most read book in history? ›

The most read book in the world is the Bible. Writer James Chapman created a list of the most read books in the world based on the number of copies each book sold over the last 50 years. He found that the Bible far outsold any other book, with a whopping 3.9 billion copies sold over the last 50 years.

What is the oldest text? ›

The world's oldest literature is widely accepted to be the Sumerian “Instructions of Shuruppak”, which dates to somewhere around 2600 B.C.E. But the title of “most famous literature from circa 2000 B.C.E.” belongs to a story that comes from ancient Mesopotamia: The Epic of Gilgamesh.

What is the oldest known story? ›

The Epic of Gilgamesh. What, When and Where: An epic poem concerning or (very) loosely based on the historical King Gilgamesh, who ruled Sumerian Uruk (modern day Iraq) in 2700 BC. This is the oldest written story, period, anywhere, known to exist.

Who was the first book on earth? ›

The first book ever written that we know of is The Epic of Gilgamesh: a mythical retelling of an important political figure from history. In the 14th century, the Jikji was printed in Korea in movable (metal) type: a collection of Buddhist Zen teachings.

Where is the oldest book in America? ›

Typically when we talk about the oldest "American" book, we are referring to the Bay Psalm Book, printed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1640 (and it is, incidentally, the current record-holder for most expensive printed book sold at auction).

What is the oldest book to survive? ›

The Diamond Sutra. While this copy of The Diamond Sutra is now considered the oldest known printed book, its contents are central to Indian Buddhism, and are believed to have been translated from Sanskrit to Chinese in about 400 AD. The development of printing in China in the 8th Century paved the way for this book.

What was the oldest language? ›

Sumerian can be considered the first language in the world, according to Mondly. The oldest proof of written Sumerian was found on the Kish tablet in today's Iraq, dating back to approximately 3500 BC.

What was the first book to be printed? ›

William Caxton was the first Englishman to learn to use a printing press. The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye was his first printed book, and the first book printed anywhere in English.

What are 3 good quotes? ›

Quotes by Famous People
  • The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. - ...
  • The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. - ...
  • Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. ...
  • If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor. -
Apr 6, 2023

What are 5 famous quotes? ›

Famous quotes in English
That's one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind.Neil ArmstrongEnglish
The love of money is the root of all evil.the BibleGreek
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.Franklin D. RooseveltEnglish
The truth will set you free.the BibleGreek
54 more rows

What is the most famous book quote? ›

The 22 best book quotes of all time:
  • "Love is or it ain't. ...
  • "I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship." ...
  • "Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt." ...
  • "It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting." ...
  • "There is always something left to love."
Nov 4, 2021

What is the most exciting part of a book called? ›

Climax. Another element of the PLOT is the CLIMAX. The CLIMAX of the story is when the CONFLICT of the PLOT is resolved.It is often the most exciting part of the story: when the hero saves the princess, discovers the buried treasure, or slays the dragon.

What makes a book harder to read? ›

There are several reasons why a book might be hard to read. Sometimes it's because the language is difficult, sometimes the topic is dense or complex, and sometimes the author's writing style is challenging.

What do readers look for in a book? ›

Readers want a plot and characters that keep them engaged. Also mentioned frequently were uninteresting characters and overdone descriptions. Farther down the list, but still worth mentioning were grammar mistakes and spelling errors. For authors, this means plot and characters need to be a primary focus.

What are the 10 elements of literature? ›

A literary element refers to components of a literary work (character, setting, plot, theme, frame, exposition, ending/denouement, motif, titling, narrative point-‐of-‐view). These are technical terms for the “what” of a work.

What are positive things about books? ›

The takeaway
  • improves brain connectivity.
  • increases your vocabulary and comprehension.
  • empowers you to empathize with other people.
  • aids in sleep readiness.
  • reduces stress.
  • lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
  • fights depression symptoms.
  • prevents cognitive decline as you age.
Oct 15, 2019

What are the 5 benefits of reading? ›

Whether you're a novice reader or a bibliophile, there are some interesting benefits of reading books and how they can improve your day to day.
  • Increase your vocabulary and comprehension skills. ...
  • Reduce stress. ...
  • Help you prepare to sleep. ...
  • Prevents cognitive decline. ...
  • Might even help you live longer.

How long is the longest book ever written? ›

A la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust

Its title translates to Remembrance of Things Past (first translated into English as In Search of Lost Time) and contains nearly 1.3 million words with an estimated 9,609,000 characters.

What are the first book ever written? ›

The first book ever written that we know of is The Epic of Gilgamesh: a mythical retelling of an important political figure from history. In the 14th century, the Jikji was printed in Korea in movable (metal) type: a collection of Buddhist Zen teachings.

What is the first book in the world? ›

The earliest surviving written literature is from ancient Mesopotamia. The Epic of Gilgamesh is often cited as the first great composition, although some shorter compositions have survived that are even earlier (notably the “Kesh Temple Hymn” and “The Instructions of Shuruppak”).

How long is the shortest book ever? ›

1. “Baby Shoes” by Hemingway. This is 20th-century American author Ernest Hemingway's famous six-word story.

What is the world's shortest book? ›

Jesus Wept: "The Shortest, Short Story Ever Written and Published," Guinness World Records book…

What book is 600000 words? ›

“… and Ladies of The Book Club” by Helen Hooven Santmyer – 600,000 words.

What is the oldest book still published? ›

The oldest extant printed book is a work of the Diamond Sutra and dates back to 868 CE, during the Tang Dynasty.

Which is the most read book in the world? ›

The Bible. Easily the most read book in the world is the Bible for obvious reasons. It is estimated to have sold over 40 million copies in the last 60 years.

Who wrote the first Bible? ›

About The Book

For thousands of years, the prophet Moses was regarded as the sole author of the first five books of the Bible, known as the Pentateuch.

Which is the oldest book in Bible? ›

Internal evidence in the texts suggests dating the individual books of the 27-book New Testament canon in the 1st century CE. The first book written was probably 1 Thessalonians, written around 50 CE.

Why are books called books? ›

The word book comes from Old English “bōc” which in its turn comes from a Germanic root “*bōk-“, which means “beech” – as in the beech tree.

What is the oldest printed text? ›

This copy of the Diamond Sūtra in Chinese language, complete with a beautifully illustrated frontispiece, is the world's earliest dated, printed book. It was produced on the 11 May 868, according to the Western calendar.


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