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This article is about the current version of DF.

A book is an item that can be written on and store historical events, knowledge, and art. Books use sheets made from plant fiber (paper), parchment, or papyrus. Books are created by historical figures in world generation, by the adventurer, and by scholars and visitors in fortress mode. They can also be copied by scribes. Travelers and traders carry books to different sites and libraries, spreading information as a result. There are two forms of books: codices (sing. codex) and scrolls . Both forms have different methods of creation, but they are identical in function. Codices are known as quires prior to being bound. Written books are treated as artifacts, with the exception of copies. Original written works are recorded in the legends and appear in the L Artifacts screen in fortress mode. Books are titled based on their subject matter, with copies identified by "(copy)" at the end of their title.

Quires and scrolls are found under "tools" in the z Stocks screen, and codices can be found under "codices". Written and unwritten books are stored in stockpiles with Finished Goods enabled. Original written works can be separated from copied and unwritten books in stockpiles by toggling the stockpile's settings to accept only artifact-level core or total quality items. If a library with available space is present, written and unwritten books will be stored in bookcases and containers instead, respectively.



Scrolls are made from sheets and scroll rollers. Scrolls can be written on and stored right after being made.

Quire and codex[edit]

Unlike scrolls, codices require a two-step process to be made. The initial form of a codex is known as a quire. Quires can be written on, be read, and be used as a copy, similar to scrolls. Once something is written on, quires can be combined with a book binding and a thread to create a codex.

Codices, being made of more materials, should have their wealth increased. However, this transformation currently discards some of the quire's properties (text length, material value, etc.), so it is recommended to leave your scholars' works in quire form.Bug:9409 The final product of binding a codex tends to actually be worth much less than the combined value of its constituent parts, making codices a terrible way to generate wealth.


See also: Paper industry

Quires are made from sheets at a craftsdwarf's workshop by a dwarf with the bookbinding labor. Only a single sheet is needed per quire. Codices are then created from one thread, one book binding, and a written-on quire at a craftsdwarf's workshop by a bookbinder.

A scroll is made from a single sheet and a scroll roller at a craftsdwarf's workshop by a bookbinder. Both book bindings and scroll rollers can be made out of wood, stone, metal, or glass. Components made of wood and stone are produced at a craftsdwarf's workshop, metal at a metalsmith's forge, and glass at a glass furnace.

Decorations such as gems and ivory can be added on unwritten scrolls. Codices cannot be normally decorated, with the exception of untitled codices. Book bindings or scroll rollers cannot be decorated.



Written books can be read. Readers will gain information of the subject they read about in a book. Contents in a book cannot impact specific ethics, although personal values are a different matter, and one particular subject can have profound physical effects on the reader. Reading a book will satisfy the reader's need to self-examine and think abstractly.

Adventurers can read books in their possession by pressing I then selecting them from their inventory. Characters must possess a reader skill of at least novice level in order to read a book. This skill can only be leveled up in-game by reading books, which is impossible to do without any reader skill to begin with. Raising the reader skill in advance during character creation (or simply adding some amount of NATURAL_SKILL to one's chosen race in the raws) is therefore crucial.

Fortress citizens and visitors will read available books in a library at their leisure. Bookkeepers do not require a book to update stockpile records, oddly enough.


Unwritten quires and scrolls stocked in a library as writing material will be used periodically by scholars and scribes to write original works and copy existing works, respectively.

Adventurers can write their own books. First, have an unwritten scroll or quire wielded in hand or on the tile where you stand. Press x then select write, and choose the object you want to write on. You will be given a list of memorized content and prose to write about, which includes guides, essays, manuals, chronicles, letters, short stories, novels, plays, poems, choreographs, and musical compositions. For prose options, a random known subject will be used. Writing a book will take up several hours in-game. If you are interrupted by enemies, writing will stop and the writing material will be unused.


Although hardly ideal for the purpose, creatures carrying books have been known to use them in combat with varying results. The combat effectiveness of the written word is determined in large part by the materials used in the book's construction. Books are blunt weapons, so heavy metal books will be infinitely more effective than light wooden ones. Fighting with a book trains the Macedwarf skill.



Art books describe poems, choreographs, and musical compositions. Art books are titled after their art piece's name. In adventure mode, reading a book about an art form is one of the few ways to learn it. Presumably dwarves reading art books will be able to perform what they've read at a tavern as well.


Knowledge books include topics on mathematics, philosophy, history, geography, medical science, natural science, astronomy, engineering, and chemistry. They are referred to as manuals.

Civilizations practice different forms of scholarship. Dwarves practice all forms of scholarship (while still preferring craftsdwarfship to books), elves do elfy stuff, and for humans it is randomized for each instance of their civilization (scholar types are based on the civilization's values and jobs).


Books containing "secrets of life and death" are occasionally written during world generation by necromancers and various demonic rulers. Any mortal creature who reads one will immediately learn the secrets to immortality and the ability to raise the dead. Necromancy books can be found in a necromancer's tower among other types of books, including the original slab of which the secrets originated from.

Necromancers invading the fortress may bring their books along, which could be necromancy books. Looting a necromancy book and storing it in a library will cause all of the fortress population to gradually become immortal masters of death every time one of them reads the book, and this process can be accelerated by creating copies of the book. Adventurers who have learned the secrets of life and death can also write their own necromancy books (by random chance) and share them with the world by placing them in a library for people to read.


Books may be autobiographies, or about other historical characters or locations the author has had contact with. Presumably the relevant "Form" topics must have been discovered by an individual's civilization for biographies, autobiographies, etc. to be written. Autobiographical adventure, for example, presumably unlocks autobiographies. Most forms are part of the history branch, but creation of atlases, dictionaries and star charts require other disciplines. Books may also be commentaries on other books.


  • The description of manufactured scrolls mentions two roller materials, with the first described as a random stone.Bug:9249
  • Quires targeted by any active jobs (e.g. being read) are unavailable for binding.Bug:9269
  • Binding a quire into a codex destroys the material definition and value.Bug:9409 This loss of information also results in the book being a single page long. Written works can be left in their quire form to retain their properties.
  • In adventure mode, placing and removing books from a bookcase can duplicate them, resulting in "phantom" books.Bug:10245
  • Codices will sometimes appear without a title. These codices are not considered as artifacts; they do not appear in the Artifacts list menu and are not stored in artifact-specified stockpiles. Since all codices must be derived from a written-on quire, all codices (except copies) should in theory be an artifact and possess a title.
  • Codex/Codices/Scroll can be stuck on the map, and not be interacted with (from raid or visitor), which can be fixed with DF Hack.Bug:10288
"Book" in other Languages Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg
Dwarven: thîkut
Elvish: soya
Goblin: zosto
Human: thothil