There are currently 11 questions each tagged with either or . Should we pick one and standardize, or leave them both?

Edit: A more enhanced discussion of media tags is happening at Should we do away with the media tags (books, novel, TV, movies, etc.)? which would make this question irrelevant.

  • Is written being used as a version of this? i.e. it means something that's in print? TV/film is also written at some point, so it seems a meaningless tag in a way.
    – Tony Meyer
    Commented Feb 3, 2011 at 20:27
  • @TonyMeyer I abolished the [written] tag, which slightly simplifies the discussion here.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 17:59

6 Answers 6


I want to enhance Zypher's answer.

Let's point out the differences between a novel and a book:

A novel is a book-length work of fiction. Just being fictional and bound isn't enough -- collections of short stories, novellas, and other fictional texts can be bound, but they don't thereby become a novel.

A book, by contrast, is a volume of fictional or non-fictional work. Although these are often bound, again, binding isn't essential. For example, books can be electronic with scanned images. The lack of binding doesn't mean that it isn't a book. Additionally, a book -- in common usage -- tends to have a copyright and be the product of a publisher. One could debate this aspect (e.g., is an unpublished diary a book?)

In short, a novel is usually a book, but a book isn't necessarily a novel. The terms aren't interchangeable. Just remember that novel normally refers only to works of fiction. If the book isn't fiction, it isn't a nove

See : Difference between book and novel

So i think we need two different tags.


Novel is always a book, but a book is not always a novel. So I say go with the more inclusive term.

  • 1
    Many novels were originally published in magazines, usually as serials; and many of those never made it to book publication. Novels but not books.
    – user14111
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 3:09
  • 1
    While I agree in the premise of your answer, I'm wondering why book is even on here in the first place. The reason I say this is because since we are SciFi & Fantasy, every book which is on here has to be a novel or it does not fit the genre. I mean, it could be a novella as well, but if we are describing books, the more descriptive term of novel, short story, novella, whatever, should be used and not "book" ... just doesn't make sense. MHO, though. Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 22:54

They are not the same thing at all, since books related to SF could be anthologies or reference works which are not novels.

  • 1
    True, however the tag usage doesn't reflect that. They're used synonymously. (Is that a word? Synonymously?)
    – morganpdx
    Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 1:11
  • @morganpdx, it is now. ;)
    – Tangurena
    Commented Jan 15, 2011 at 5:34

Books includes both comic books and novels, so book is not synonymous with novel. Rather, Books is generic and novel is specific. Having both a specific term and a generic tag, however, isn't desirable. If we decide a generic book tags is preferable, then we should do away with the novel tag.

As it is now, we have novel questions that missing either the book or the novel tag. It's probably going to remain that way because it's not intuitive 9or logical) to need to put the generic AND the specific tag.

Personally, I would prefer with more specific terms. If it's a comic nook, tag it with the comic-book tag. If it's a novel, tag it with the novel tag. Having specific tags will make search more easy, IMO.


Make and synonyms.

1. There's no separated media tags for movies/films that differentiate them from other works.

2. A minimum of 71.5% of questions are tagged incorrectly, but I suspect it's really at least 80%. Correctly tagging them all is a waste of effort, because:

3. Users are going to continue using the way is intended, because that's what makes sense for the word. Four years worth of cumulative evidence has shown us that.

is supposed to be for specific the book version of a work that's also a movie.

Use this tag only to differentiate the book from the movie or other media.

I think this is a bit of a silly usage, to say it's only for that purpose. and are synonyms. Neither one of them say they're only for differentiating the movie from the book version. However, is often used that way. Outside of , the main usage of is actually to differentiate between the written other versions of the work.

Of course, the most glaring issue with is that users don't actually use by the definition anyway:

with 635 questions
Top 9 tags, by question count, used with

  1. x454, 71.5%
  2. x37, 5.8%
  3. x34, 5.4%
  4. x32, 5.0%
  5. x26, 4.1%
  6. x24, 3.8%
  7. x18, 2.8%
  8. x16, 2.5%
  9. x15, 2.4%

Compare to:

with 528 questions
Top 9 tags, by question count, used with

  1. x430, 81.4%
  2. x34, 6.4%
  3. x31, 5.9%
  4. x29, 5.5%
  5. x18, 3.4%
  6. x13, 2.5%
  7. x13, 2.5%
  8. x11, 2.1%
  9. x10, 1.9%

As you can see here, the primary usage of is , which is not only the "wrong" usage, but the the same primary usage as . In fact, separately, their number of questions tagged as such is very close to the same, but [tags:books] is actually higher. When two words have a near 50/50 split of when they're chosen for the same purpose, that's an excellent sign of a synonym.

After the top single used with it, we see some overlap. , and . Something to note is that those three tags are primarily used for , so they're likely used in questions with 3+ tags, than just or alone.

Even without the wiki definition, it's easy to see that shouldn't be on list and vice-versa. That's redundant, no matter what.

Currently the top-voted policy is:

Novel is always a book, but a book is not always a novel. So I say go with the more inclusive term.

Yet, I can see when that makes a reasonable difference to how we tag questions. The times when a book is is not a novel is usually when it's a short story or some other media which we already have another tag for.

Going back to my executive summary, there's very strong reasons for making the two tags synonyms, but no strong reasons for keeping them separate. The strongest argument for keeping them separate has been completely ignored by the majority of the community. The other reasons, such as my last quote, seem like arguments to create additional tags, for things that aren't novels but are books.

  • Short stories also appear in books. Books is a broader term covering both novels and short stories, so (IMO) it should be done away with in favour of the narrower tags. See my answer.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 17:58
  • @randal'thor Books of short stories get tagged short stories, as I said in my answer. Books and novels should be synonyms, period. If some fractional amount needs to be retagged short story after, then that's just normal maintenance.
    – user31178
    Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 18:04

Split into and .

Whether or not it makes sense to have media tags at all (a discussion that seems to be still ongoing), it's undeniable that is a broader tag than the others. We don't have a tag to cover both films and TV, so why should we have a tag to cover both novels and short stories?

If we get rid of , then our media tags become less confusing and have no overlap:

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .