Wednesday 31 October 2018

Pamphlets, Booklets, and Books What’s the Difference?

Pamphlets, Booklets, and Books What’s the Difference?

This year I have read and reviewed numerous pamphlets and booklets. I was asked by a read about the formats and functions of the three. It started with the discovery of two Catholic Authors; Alice Curtyane, and Daniel A. Lord. Both were prolific writers in the last century. Both wrote books, booklets and pamphlets. And unfortunately, most of their works are currently out of print. While doing research on these two authors I encountered booklets by The Catholic Truth Society, and have since read 40 books and booklets from CTS. In response to the honest inquiry of non-Catholic, non-Christian reader he is my attempt to add some clarification.

If I were to compare the three formats to fiction to provide some background. If we take the three:

Pamphlet – Short Story
Booklet - Novella
Book – Novel

So, the first distinction is simply length. I cannot give a specific length difference between pamphlets and booklets; but can give some antidotal. Pamphlets art typically printed on thinner paper, and the cover is often the same style of paper, or occasionally a same weight but with color copy. Pamphlets are like tracks or brochures you would pick up at a medical office, or governmental office. Booklets have a heavier card stock cover and are often much longer. I would say most pamphlets are under 50 pages, booklets are between 75-175 pages. Both Pamphlets and booklets have a staple binding.

So that would be the big distinction between booklets and books. Booklets are staple bound, are always ‘paperback’. And are on the shorter side. Books have a glued, glued and stitched binding.

A second factor is the actual process of publishing. Both Blessed James Alberione (1884-1971) and Cardinal Vaughan (1832-1903), were visionaries in using printing presses, and media in evangelization. Cardinal Vaughan founded the Catholic Truth Society, and James Alberione founded the Pauline Family of ministries, including Pauline Books and Media. Both organizations are known to have historically owned their own printing presses. From what I have seen of physical copies of the CTS booklets You can tell when I book was published based on the style, size and format. Again, aligning to the presses, they owned.

For example, older CTS Booklets are printed on a size that matches standard trade paperback. Where the newer CTS booklets are smaller in format. Also, for the newer size you can tell the rough time of printing based on cover designs as they have changed over times, or for some series the color changes every few years.

Now I have been clear in the past that I much prefer electronic books. But the photos below are of physical copies of booklets and books from CTS that I have, that are not available electronically. But with finding authors that I love, and their stuff being out of print I have been ordering scanned copies of old books and booklets from libraries around the world.

And finally, for the purpose. Pamphlets are usually to give a quick introduction, or overview of a topic. The difference between pamphlets and booklets are just length. I have read booklets on single topics, or related topics.  For example I read these three booklets: Saints of North America, Saints of South Asia, and Saints of Africa. Each of these represented numerous saints who were from or served in a specific geographic region. But I have also read booklets of the exact same size and length on specific saints.   

To move from the fiction analogy to a food one; a pamphlet is a taste, a booklet a snack and a book is the whole meal. And what I have loved this year is having so many great snacks from CTS to read. I hope that provides some clarity for the reader who asked the question, and that other readers find it interesting and informative.

My current collection of physical booklets and books from CTS.

A Simple Prayer Book in English and Spanish are booklets bound by staples. The Marian Prayer Book is roughly same size but twice the length and bound by glue with a much heavier cover.

The top two are much older out of print CTS Booklets, the bottom two are more recent booklets.

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