Nonfiction is the German term for a book that represents a particular factual issue for a lay audience. Part, the term non-fiction book is the English-language " non-fiction " and then forms the counterpart of Fiction in the broader sense, according to the " fiction" in English (from the Latin " Fictum ", invented ).

In contrast, a reference book is aimed at the specialists of a particular scientific or even about craft times.


Non-fiction books, textbooks and reference books differ fundamentally in their objectives.

Reference books, encyclopedias, textbooks, music or travel literature, almanacs also typically include the non-fiction books.

Bookstores, libraries and publishers share their nonfiction quite different in departments and priorities; there is no uniform classification of product groups. So a book about digital photography fits into the shelf art / photography as well as in the department computer / image processing.

Here is a list of the most important non-fiction genres:

  • Policy
  • Pedagogy / Education
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • History
  • Religion
  • Food and Beverages ( cookbook )
  • Leisure and Hobby
  • Nature, garden, animals, hunting, forest
  • Health, medicine, counseling, counselor
  • Reference works such as encyclopedias or dictionaries
  • Textbook, Textbook
  • Travel books, atlases
  • Computer, computer science
  • Business, profession
  • Engineering, architecture, crafts
  • Art, Photography, Graphics, Music, Film
  • Traffic and transport
  • Esoteric

The highest-circulation German non-fiction book was (and is ) Gods, Graves and Scholars by CW Ceram, which, although it "Roman archeology " was called, non-fiction made ​​popular as a literary genre. As a biggest-selling non-fiction book of all time is valid in the United States the autobiography of Lee Iacocca: Iacocca - an American career. Furthermore, the Guinness Book of Records is the world's most sold copyrighted book.


The Germanistic definition is controversial. Thus, the poetics of nonfiction book borders the advice literature from you and just takes the so-called narrative books in the category (see web link). It is " Biography of the thing " pointed out at various points on Sergei Tretyakov and his coinage of.

It is generally distinguished between non-fiction and reference book, the definition may not always be clear. For example, a book that treating them psychological issues and is intended for engineers and business people who are considered both as a book, because the target group are not psychologists, but also as a reference book, as yet the core topics of the target group, such as work safety are discussed. The classification depends among other things on what skills the author zubilligt its readers.


Approximately every third -selling book may be referred to as a counselor. An essential part is sold today on and other Internet providers. But still, the stationary book trade makes the most revenue with counselors or nonfiction, though tend to decline slightly. In recent years, it is increasingly in the so-called " secondary markets " - ie in shops that do not belong to the book industry, such as hardware stores, pharmacies, health food stores - sells a growing proportion of thematically to the respective product range matching nonfiction.

The proportion of non-fiction books sold in total sales is highly dependent on the type of binding. In the area of ​​hardcover books (a permanent " bound " books), the proportion of non-fiction books at 84 percent, however, ( called pocket books or paperback ) in softcover books only at 14 percent. Here is the Fiction leads with 54 percent.

Share of sales of all fiction books sold in Germany (May 2008):

2008, demand was especially back to health counselors. Compared to 2007, this 3.9 percent fewer sales were made. As a possible cause of free health counselor sites are mentioned online.