Nonfiction books are based in fact and can take many forms. Some types of nonfiction books are personal accounts, such as journals, autobiographies and memoirs, while others are more instructional, such as how-to books, manuals and reference guides. Scientific, religious and philosophical books are typically classified as nonfiction. Medical books, travelogues and essays are also nonfiction offerings.
Journals and diaries are nonfiction books that can offer a first-hand look at a subject or an event as the author experienced it. A journal can be used to detail a wide variety of activities, from expeditions and archaeological digs to scientific research. It can be as wide-ranging or narrowly-focused as a writer desires, such as an overview of an ancient civilization or focusing only on the tools used by that civilization.
Essays are often written by experts in a particular field to provide an in-depth overview on a subject or experience. Biographies focus on the lives of individuals and their journeys as they go through life. If the subject is deceased, the biography can even include information on their death, including the cause, the funeral and reaction from family or the public. Autobiographies are told in the subject's own words and present the facts as they see them at the time.
Scholarly, research and scientific papers published as nonfiction books are often geared toward the author's fellow experts in a particular field. They are typically painstakingly detailed to provide a basis for further research and exploration. By being thorough, the essay is less likely to be discredited and more likely to serve as a basis for further study. These nonfiction books can provide a knowledge base for researchers, educators and scientists for years to come.
Some historical nonfiction books focus on an event, person or period from a certain era. Travel books and travelogues open a door to experiencing other cultures and countries through words and photographs. Some nonfiction books are primarily photos, such as photo essays. The essays can detail a range of subject matters, including a trip, surgery or collection of items.
Nonfiction books also include guides, manuals and diagrams. Some guides focus on values of items, such as collectible coins, baseball cards or autographs. Nonfiction books also include reference guides for antiques, such as jewelry, art glass and china. Reference books, such as encyclopedias and dictionaries, are also categorized as nonfiction books. Books on religion, philosophy and how-to publications are also nonfiction.