What's a Novel vs. a Book? And 3 More Questions You Were Afraid to Ask

The real question is, what's a novelette?

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  • Photo Credit: Valerie Landel / Unsplash

Occasionally, we all have questions that we're a little nervous to ask, and for that reason alone, we're thankful for the internet. Whether you've forgotten the capital of your own state, your times tables, or which one is Greenland and which is Iceland, the internet is there for you.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of the most popular questions about books, from how a novel is different from a book, what a novella is, what ebooks are, and more! Just keep scrolling, and no one has to know you had to ask.

What's a novel vs. a book?

A novel is a kind of book—all novels are books, but not all books are novels. 

Any fictional prose book of a certain length is a novel. This includes all genre literature (mysteries, romances, thrillers, etc.), literary fiction, realistic fiction—any long story that someone made up.

All nonfiction books, from self-help books to biographies to history books, are not fiction, and therefore not novels. And because poetry books aren't telling stories, they also don't count as novels.

Example: The Color Purple is a novel, and Alice in Wonderland is a novel, but Milk and Honey is not (because it's poetry), and The Diary of a Young Girl is not (because it's nonfiction).  

How long does a novel have to be?

There are no hard minimums, but most novels have at least 50,000 words, which works out to about 200 pages.

Novellas are shorter—think about 150 pages. And novelettes and short stories are even shorter.

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

What, exactly, is an ebook?

Ebooks are great! They're digital versions of regular books that can be read on specialized devices called ereaders (think Kindle or Nook). Ereaders are designed to make reading extra easy and they hold quite a few ebooks, but you don't need an ereader to read ebooks.

Because they're digital, ebooks are often much cheaper than their paper counterparts, and you're more likely to find excellent sale prices for them. There are even many ways to get free ebooks!

Can you give an ebook as a gift?

You sure can, and the best part is the free delivery. Just find out what kind of device your recipient prefers to read ebooks on, then follow the instructions here.