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What is the difference between a book and a novel?

As readers, we are probably used to the idea that books and novels are the same things. However, there are important differences between the two terms, specifically in their content.

Both the book and the novel are reading resources to satisfy a specific need of the audience that almost always has to do with entertainment or information.

Want to know the difference between a novel and a book? Here it is.

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What is a book?

A book is any literary work printed, written, or painted on paper or other material. A book may deal with any subject.

The term is usually associated with a set of written words that give shape to a specific topic. For example, books about specific events in history.

The goal of books is to help readers expand their knowledge in a specific field or topic. It does not matter if it is a fiction or non-fiction book or a combination of both.

Fantasy books describe supernatural or imaginary settings, plots, and characters, while nonfiction books include research or an essay.

In books, information is stored, analyzed, compiled, and arranged in an appropriate format so that readers can understand it without problems. Books can include experiments, tricks, recommendations, examples, narratives, etc.

Authors are the people in charge of unraveling the principles of each work to meet the reader’s needs.

What is a novel?

The novel is a literary work of fiction whose objective is to move and entertain the reader through a series of narrative or poetic resources.

Among other elements of fiction, the novel includes characters and a plot, and reflects the customs, beliefs, and learning of the authors.

Although the purpose of a novel is to entertain, the elements that make up this literary work favor reflection and introspection of the reader.

The dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy defines the novel as a literary genre originating in ancient Greco-Latin society and developed since the Modern Age.

The main distinguishing feature of the novel is that it is an open work, so many complex literary figures and devices can be included in the same story.

Due to this open concept, authors can mix characters, cross stories and develop plots that are subject to others within the same story.

In addition, the novel includes all kinds of texts: documents, legends, letters, songs, poems, etc.

These characteristics give the novel a high level of complexity, which has translated into subgenres of great popularity, such as the suspense novel, the horror novel, the historical novel, and the novel of chivalry, among others.

If you are interested in this topic, then read also: What is a Novel and What are its Types?

Essential differences between a book and a novel

The difference between a novel and a book is based on the following premises:

  • A book is a written and published work that contains information on a specific subject, while a novel is a work of fiction whose purpose is to entertain the reader with a story.
  • Although the novel may be viewed as a type of book, not all books are novels. Books include any type of work, including magazines, comics, workbooks, etc.
  • Due to the semantics of the word, the writer of a novel is known as a novelist. In the case of books, the writer is known as an author.
  • Novels are meant to invite the reader to reflect or cognitively respond in some specific way. The novel is written to produce a relentless interest in the reader. In the case of books, reading can be intermittent.
  • The novel includes a story with protagonists, dialogues, plot, setting, conflict, and a theme that reflects real-world events. On the other hand, the book can integrate different types of structure, such as poetry, short stories, myths, essays, and research.
  • While novels aim to move, entertain or captivate readers, books aim to inform and educate.
  • The novel usually has a minimum of 40 thousand words. The book has no minimum word standard.

In short, books are works that address a specific topic, almost always to disseminate information or educate the audience.

Novels are a type of fiction, so their purpose is to entertain. Remember: novels are books, but not all books are novels.

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