I was thinking of the different uses for books and of books. This is in no way comprehensive or complete, so please let me know if I've missed anything significant or obvious. The list does have a certain order.
1. As an interior design aid:
Let's face it, books fill bookcases, which are an important design feature in our houses. Filling book cases can be artistic, like the rainbow patterns created by Kikki K. Personally, I prefer to arrange my books alphabetically by author or thematically…
2. For recycling:
Once books have been read they can be recycled in a myriad of ways = given to friends, papier machÃ©, recycling the ideas of books, exchanging them at a used bookstore, chucking them in the recycling bin.
3. As a heavy object:
I have a particular lack of fondness, straying towards phobia, of cockroaches; so this is what I sometimes use big books for, but they are also good for paperweights, building muscles, and I was impressed when Jason Bourne was able to use a thin volume as a weapon to nullify an enemy (in that case the work of pen was used as a sword!).
4. As room dividers:
For those with especially impressive collections of books, like a friend of mine, they can be used as a remarkably effective room divider = they absorb sound, they can be as high as you want, and you can leave in secret peak holes.
5. Reading for pleasure:
Now we move to the uses for which most book creators imagine they will be used! I suspect most people read for pleasure, but they can also be a form of escapism from our busy lives, and distraction from the things that cause us pain and anxiety.
6. An education:
This has probably been the most significant use of books since writing was invented and book production occurred. Through books we learn basic skills, they inform us and challenge us. Sometimes we use books as a way of knowing how much we don't know = has anyone ever actually finished A Brief History of Time?
7. As gifts:
In giving books we are often using them to express how much we value the other, to encourage the other, to stress something that is important to us, and sometimes as a means of bridging a gap for the Gospel.
8. To seal bonds of friendship:
An extension of books as gifts is the way they are used to seal bonds of friendship. Sometimes there is a semi-permeable membrane between the bookcases of friends; books are lent with merely a vague expectation of return. They operate as an extension of a never-ending conversation.
9. As a means of transmitting morals:
Books are an important way cultures and tribes and societies communicate right and wrong and how to live. Both fiction and non-fiction rely on assumptions of shared understanding - what the reader will affirm and what will shock - and books for the very young are usually very pointed in communicating important moral lessons. For adults, biographies are an important element in moral education, and crime novels are often didactic.
10. As connection with the divine:
It is a beautiful fact in the history of books that Guttenberg invented and initially used his printing press to print the Bible, as a means of mass-producing and communicating of God's Word. The Bible is the foundation for our understanding of God, of ourselves, of others and of the world. It is still the most popular book in the world, with up to six billion copies having been sold; six times more than the next most popular book.