A partwork is a written publication released as a series of planned magazine-like issues over a period of time. Issues are typically released on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis, and often a completed set is designed to form a reference work on a particular topic.
Partwork series run for a determined length and have a finite life. Generally, partworks cover specific areas of interest, such as sports, hobbies, or children's interest and stories such as PC Ace and the successful The Ancestral Trail series by Marshall Cavendish Ltd. They are generally sold at newsagents and are mostly supported by massive television advertising campaigns for the launch. In the United Kingdom, partworks are usually launched by heavy television advertising each January. 
Partworks often include cover-mounted items with each issue that build into a complete set over time.  For example, a partwork about art might include a small number of paints or pencils that build into a complete art-set; a partwork about dinosaurs might include a few replica bones that build a complete model skeleton at the end of the series; a partwork about films may include a DVD with each issue. In Europe, partworks with collectable models are extremely popular; there are a number of different publications that come with character figurines or diecast model vehicles, for example: The James Bond Car Collection.
In addition, completed partworks have sometimes been used to create case-bound reference works and encyclopedias. An example is the multi-volume Illustrated Science and Invention Encyclopedia which was created with material first published in the How It Works partwork.
According to the Periodical Publishers Association in 2003, partworks were the fourth-best selling magazine sector in the UK, after TV listing guides, women's weeklies and women's monthlies. A common inducement is a heavy discount for the first one or two issues. The same series can be sold worldwide in different languages and even in different variations. 
Prior to the invention of printing, the Pecia System was used in European university cities. Books were divided into sections known as Pecia. Students or other individuals could rent the individual pieces and copy them by hand. In this way, several individuals could work on copying one book at the same time.
With the advent of printing, serialized publication came into use by printers and publishers. Between 1728 and 1732, Nicolas Tindal's English translation of Paul de Rapin's L'Histoire d'Angleterre (The History of England) was issued by a London printer in monthly parts. A rival printer then tried to compete by selling another translation of de Rapin's work in weekly, six-penny installments.  An edition of Foxe's Book of Martyrs was issued in three-penny installments in 1732.  At the time, printing a book was a lengthy process, copies of each section of the book being printed in turn until the work was complete; the sections would then be collated and the print-run of books could then be sold. The alternative of selling individual sections as soon as they were printed would enable the printer could gain a steady income while the book was being produced, and potentially increase sales by selling to people who could not afford the upfront cost of a copy of the complete book.
In the 19th century, many of Charles Dickens' novels were first published as partworks. For example, The Pickwick Papers was first published in 19 parts, between 1836 and 1837. The Old Curiosity Shop was first published in 88 weekly parts between April 1840 and November 1841.
In the mid-20th century, partwork serialized encyclopedias were issued. Publishers soon branched out to other topics, including cookery books and series on gardening and car maintenance. 
Partworks, particularly those that contain parts for the production of a model or similar collectable items that are individually of little value, often draw criticism for the extremely high prices of their finished product. One example, released in the UK in 2009, required the purchase of 125 issues to collect the parts for a static, model aircraft; the total would be £620.25, many times higher than the cost of buying a standard model kit of the same aircraft outright. Examples of other models that cost over £400 to produce are cited, and some subscribers complain they have parts missing that they are unable to replace. 
Print on demand (POD) is a printing technology and business process in which book copies are not printed until the company receives an order, allowing prints of single or small quantities. While other industries established the build to order business model, "print on demand" could only develop after the beginning of digital printing, because it was not economical to print single copies using traditional printing technology such as letterpress and offset printing.
The bibliographical definition of an edition includes all copies of a book printed from substantially the same setting of type, including all minor typographical variants.
Tankōbon is the Japanese term for a book that is not part of an anthology or corpus. The term is also used in reference to individual volumes of a manga series: most series first appear as individual chapters in a weekly or monthly manga anthology with other works before being published as tankōbon volumes containing several chapters each.
A limited-edition book is a book released in a limited-quantity print run, usually fewer than 1000 copies. The term connotes scarcity or exclusivity. The higher the quantity printed the less likely the book will become scarce and thus increase in value. Limited editions were introduced by publishers in the late 19th century.
Marshall Cavendish is a subsidiary company of Times Publishing Group, the printing and publishing subsidiary of Singapore-based conglomerate Fraser and Neave, and at present is a publisher of books, business directories and magazines. Marshall Cavendish was established in the United Kingdom in 1968 by Norman Marshall (1921-1975)and Patrick Cavendish (1939-2000). Times Publishing Group acquired it in 1980.
A photo book or photobook is a book in which photographs make a significant contribution to the overall content. A photo book is related to and also often used as a coffee table book.
Purnell and Sons started out as a small family printers based in Somerset which merged with other printers over the next 100 years to become one the largest print groups in the UK and at one time a major publisher.
R.R. Donnelley is an American integrated communications company that provides marketing and business communications, commercial printing, and related services. Its corporate headquarters are located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. In 2007, R.R. Donnelley was the world's largest commercial printer. In 2021, it was referred to as North America's largest.
The Eastern Color Printing Company was a company that published comic books, beginning in 1933. At first, it was only newspaper comic strip reprints, but later on, original material was published. Eastern Color Printing was incorporated in 1928, and soon became successful by printing color newspaper sections for several New England and New York papers. Eastern is most notable for its production of Funnies on Parade and Famous Funnies, two publications that gave birth to the American comic book industry.
Collecticus is a monthly magazine, focusing on the subject of affordable collectable items. The magazine is published by Wentrow Media in the United Kingdom. It is currently printed by Hartley Publications.
A manuscript culture is a culture that depends on hand-written manuscripts to store and disseminate information. It is a stage that most developed cultures went through in between oral culture and print culture. Europe entered the stage in classical antiquity. In early medieval manuscript culture, monks copied manuscripts by hand. They copied not just religious works, but a variety of texts including some on astronomy, herbals, and bestiaries. Medieval manuscript culture deals with the transition of the manuscript from the monasteries to the market in the cities, and the rise of universities. Manuscript culture in the cities created jobs built around the making and trade of manuscripts, and typically was regulated by universities. Late manuscript culture was characterized by a desire for uniformity, well-ordered and convenient access to the text contained in the manuscript, and ease of reading aloud. This culture grew out of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) and the rise of the Devotio Moderna. It included a change in materials, and was subject to remediation by the printed book, while also influencing it.
In literature, a serial is a printing or publishing format by which a single larger work, often a work of narrative fiction, is published in smaller, sequential instalments. The instalments are also known as numbers, parts or fascicles, and may be released either as separate publications or within sequential issues of a periodical publication, such as a magazine or newspaper.
A periodical literature is a published work that appears in a new edition on a regular schedule. The most familiar example is a newspaper, but a magazine or a journal are also examples of periodicals. These publications cover a wide variety of topics, from academic, technical, trade, and general interest to leisure and entertainment.
Shonen Jump, officially stylized SHONEN JUMP and abbreviated SJ, was a shōnen manga anthology published in North America by Viz Media. It debuted in November 2002 with the first issue having a January 2003 cover date. Based on Shueisha's popular Japanese magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump, Shonen Jump is retooled for English readers and the American audience, including changing it from a weekly publication to a monthly one. It features serialized chapters from four manga series, and articles on Japanese language and culture, as well as manga, anime, video games, and figurines. Prior to the magazine's launch, Viz launched an extensive marketing campaign to promote it and help it succeed where previous manga anthologies published in North America had failed. Shueisha purchased an equity interest in Viz to help fund the venture, and Cartoon Network, Suncoast, and Diamond Distributors became promotional partners in the magazine.
World Aircraft Information Files(WAIF) is a weekly partwork magazine published by Bright Star Publications (part of Midsummer Books) in the United Kingdom. Each issue was priced at £1.70 for issues 1–163, and £1.80 for issues 164–218. Altogether, there were 218 issues in the complete set, which completed in 2002. Originally advertised as having 200 issues, the run was extended to 218 issues when approximately 576 pages were missing from the collection. An index to the complete series was given in the final issue.
Samuel Palmer was an English printer and author.
Cerebus phonebooks are the paperback collections that Dave Sim has collected his comic book series Cerebus in since 1986. They have come to be known as "phonebooks" as their thickness and paper stock resemble that of phone books. The format had a large influence on alternative comics publishing and was key in the move from the periodical-centric publishing style that was once dominant.
Purnell's History of the Second World War was a hugely successful weekly anthology or 'partwork' publication covering all aspects of World War II that was distributed throughout the English-speaking world. Produced shortly before the similarly accomplished 8-volume series on WW1, it was first published in 1966, being reprinted several times during the 1970s.
John Southward (1840–1902) was an English writer on printing and typography,