Media and format definitions

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This page explains some of the distinctions between media in the The LibraryThing Media Taxonomy, as understood by professional librarians. Members are free to implement the taxonomy as they see fit.


  • Binding Types
  • Bookbinding - See Wikipedia "Bookbinding" for overview.
    • Sewn bindings (most durable binding, and most commonly used in hardcovers)
    • Staple or saddle-stitching (often used for magazines or comic books)
    • Coil or Spiral Binding. See Wikipedia
    • Perfect binding, glue, tape binding (most common binding for paperbacks; also used for some hardcovers)

  • Journal versus Magazine - "In the library technical sense, a "magazine" paginates with each issue starting at page three. Likewise, in the technical sense a "journal" has continuous pagination throughout a volume. Thus Business Week, which starts each issue anew with page one, is a magazine, but the Journal of Business Communication, which starts each volume with the winter issue and continues the same sequence of pagination throughout the coterminous year, is a journal." -- "Magazine", Wikipedia (permalink, 2015/07/04)
  • Magazine - See "Journal versus Magazine"
  • Pamphlet - "In order to count as a pamphlet, UNESCO requires a publication (other than a periodical) to have "at least 5 but not more than 48 pages exclusive of the cover pages"; a longer item is a book." -- "Pamphlet", Wikipedia (permalink, 2015/07/04), citing to UNESCO
  • Trade paperback versus mass market paperback - "Strictly speaking, "trade paperback" and "mass market paperback" refer to distribution channels and how books are sold, rather than to trim sizes. Mass market paperbacks can be stripped - the front cover torn off - and only the cover returned to the publisher. Trade paperbacks cannot be. (You'll sometimes see text in the front matter of mass-market paperbacks about how if you bought the book without a cover, it's stolen since it's been reported as "unsold and destroyed".) Generally speaking, in the US, mass-market paperbacks correspond to small trim sizes, trade paperbacks to larger ones, to the point that that's how most people use the terms. Publishers have occasionally experimented with non-strippable, small-format books; this generally ended very badly for all concerned when booksellers sent back the stripped-off covers wanting their refund. So yes, in practice it's a distinction of dimensions, but definitionally it's not." -- Lorax, LT thread, July 2, 2015

  • Turtleback - "The library term of art for paperbacks rebound as hardcovers is "turtleback" if you want to distinguish these." -- Lorax, 2015/08/28
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