When Is a Book Not a Book?

When people ask me how many books I have written, that’s a tough question to answer. It may seem cut and dry to many, but I’ve not only created novels, non-fiction books, children’s books, and workbooks, but also calendars.

Is a calendar actually considered a book? A title? I don’t know. One would think the answer would vary depending on who I ask, but no – everyone says yes – the calendar counts.

So, why do I have such a hard time counting it?

I took the photographs. So, it’s more like a picture book.

I provided the commentary in the character’s voice. So, it’s got dialogue/narration.

I incorporated a calendar, and personally added dates of note which would interest my character.

It’s the same amount of pages as my educational children’s book. It was thoroughly researched, double-checked, and edited.

What is it that makes me say, “I have twenty-two titles, but one’s a calendar.” Why do I feel the need to qualify that?

Does, in fact, a book have to have a minimum number of words to qualify? Does the text have to tell a story? What if the photographs and the captions tell a story? What if those photographs and captions inspire outdoor learning and literacy? Does that make it more than a calendar, but less than a book? Does it make it a calenbook? A bookendar?

Creating the calendar was a lot of work. I had to sort through thousands of photographs, choose the ones which best fit Mr. Pish’s message, caption them, fit them, and tweak them for print. I had to make sure all the dates jived. (No, I didn’t use the auto calendar option in Publisher because I have customized the calendar design, so I literally numbered 365 days by hand!) I designed the front and back covers. Granted, the amount of effort it takes to write a novel doesn’t compare – but it was work just the same. And this is pretty much the justification everyone I talk to gives me when they say yes, this counts as a book.

The reasoning is sound, I guess. But there’s just something that holds me back from running with it. I feel that calling it a book is almost disrespectful to the countless authors I know who painstakingly create novels each year without pictures of a cute dog, or pages with dates.

I don’t know what to think. What do you think?


Is a calendar a book?

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Author: K.S. Brooks

K.S. Brooks is an award-winning novelist, photographer, and photo-journalist, author of over 30 titles, and executive director and administrator of Indies Unlimited. Brooks is currently a photo-journalist and chief copy editor for two NE Washington newspapers.  She teaches self-publishing and writing topics for the Community Colleges of Spokane, and served on the Indie Author Day advisory board. For more about K.S. Brooks, visit her website and her Amazon author page.

27 thoughts on “When Is a Book Not a Book?”

  1. I think the reason people are not intune with calling it a book is because of the format and they are called calendars because of the dates/days on them and our minds are not into changing our thought process about them. But since you write stuff, have your own pics on there, you created it and it teaches something I don’t have a problem with calling it book, too. Picture books have pics, some more than others so a calendar with pics could also be called a picture book. So claim it as a book, Kat. 🙂

    I want to know if you can really claim a cookbook as a book you wrote if all that is in it are recipes? I plan on mkaing mine with stories about each recipe, so I will definitely claim it. lol

    1. Hey Jacque – thanks! And yeah, cookbook already has the word BOOK in it – so you’re definitely in with that one! I wouldn’t hesitate to refer to that as a book, especially with the added stories. 🙂

  2. I think creating a calendar is a great thing. I personally don’t think of it as a book and I think that is okay. A calender is something special on it’s own. Most importantly you should feel proud that you have written a book. Several books are even better. Be proud because you have achieved some pretty remarkable things.

  3. See I’m of a different opinion. I’d consider it a book. It’s similar to a coffee table photo book. Only there is a bit more work to put into a calendar. Those photo books are considered books, so why not a calendar as well?

    Still Mr. Pish is adorable either way.

  4. Your authoring achievements are awesome, no matter what you call your titles. I recently read a post (can’t remember source) that showed Amazon listings for around $8.99 for print books named “the blank…” for recipe books and others with no content except guiding pages like index, page numbers, heading positions—you get the idea. They were selling like mad! Did anyone else read the post? I hope I wrote this so it’s understandable.

    1. Well, at least mine have words and pictures! LOL. Thanks for your comment, Ester. I haven’t seen that article, but I do believe I’ve heard of what you’re referring to.

  5. Mr. Pish is no mere book, no mere calendar, no meerkat. Mr. Pish is an institution! He makes children laugh! He makes women cry! He makes men fear for their lives! He is PIIIISSSSSSSSSH! All hail Mr. Pish! And long may he wave, fighting the good fight!

  6. Just keep them coming Kat, that’s my two cents. Mr. Pish is a superhero,and you are a force all by yourself. I just think what you have done is great, and it doesn’t matter what you call the titles.

  7. Very good post, Kat. I tend to refer to my books as “titles”, because it can cover everything I publish, whether comedy/picture book, short story collection or novel.

  8. -grin- The votes say it all, and I like Yvonne’s suggestion – publication is a great word and fits the bill completely. 🙂

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