The university library owns or provides access to academic books written by scholars, works of fiction such as novels or plays, biographies and a small number of university textbooks.
Works of non-fiction may be single-authored or edited. A single-authored book generally has a sustained, lengthy argument about a topic. The chapters generally build an argument chapter by chapter.
An edited book has many or several authors analyzing a topic from related but slightly different perspectives. Each essay in an edited book can be read on its own.
For a variety of reasons, you may need to consult books while doing research.
reading an extended argument about a topic (single-authored works particularly)
conducting research on a topic of broad scope
getting context and background
using the footnotes, endnotes, or bibliography to find additional resources
in certain disciplines, like history and philosophy, scholars often prefer to publish their findings in books