A pamphlet is an unbound booklet. It may consist of a single sheet of paper that is printed on both sides and folded in half, in thirds, or in fourths, called a leaflet, or it may consist of a few pages that are folded in half and saddle stapled at the crease to make a simple book
As nouns the difference between book and pamphlet is that book is a collection of sheets of paper bound together to hinge at one edge, containing printed or written material, pictures, etc while pamphlet is a small booklet of printed informational matter, often unbound, having only a paper cover.
Additionally a pamphlet is often bound by staples with 2 pages printed on a single sheet of paper that is folded down the middle and sewn (old style), unbound, or bound with staples.
For the “International Standardization of Statistics Relating to Book Production and Periodicals” UNESCO defines a pamphlet as ” a non-periodical printed publication of at least 5 but not more than 48 pages, exclusive of the cover pages, published in a particular country and made available to the public” and a book as “a non-periodical printed publication of at least 49 pages, exclusive of the cover pages”. The UNESCO definitions are, however, only meant to be used for the particular purpose of drawing up their book production statistics.
I think the common definition would be that a book has a spine, even if a very thin one, while the pages of a pamphlet are just folded and stapled together at the fold.
When I think “pamphlet”, what comes to mind is those things people made in the early days of the country informing people of things (Tom Paine’s Common Sense) or those things at the doctors office (You have cancer, now what?), handed out to promote a religion (even though you said “no”, we’re still giving you one) or sell something (Why should I buy engineered decking?)
They seem to have things in common.
1. Folded vertically. Generally far taller than wide
2. More likely to be folded several times than bound
3. Single topic providing information
4. Usually a heavier grade of paper as to stand up in a rack
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