The aim of the paper is to paint a retrospective panorama of the theoretical legacy of the post-war Polish book studies. Of key importance to the author is the question of the subject of the discipline and, consequently, its scope. The author discusses directions in book studies and the bibliological process making up, starting in the 1930s and with Jan Muszkowski’s concept, the core tradition and foundation of the theories of book studies: theories built around the paradigm of “life of the book” seeing it as an integrally defi ned process of production, dissemination and consumption; Karol Głombiowski’s functional theory, thanks to which “systemic” and “functional” approaches have become a commonly accepted methodological premise in book studies; concepts formulated by Janusz Dunin, who linked the bibliological tradition of historical, source studies of editorial forms of books with the functional theory and “communication” perspective; theory formulated by Radosław Cybulski, who, in combining the established morphology of the book with a semiotic and communication perspective, adopted “book consumption”, i.e. an integrated system of satisfying the needs of book users, as a functional category to describe the behaviour of participants in the book market; concepts focused on the “social communication situation” as a research category and perspective stemming from a sociological and semiotic reorientation of humanistic thinking. At the end the author discusses trends which in recent years have considerably expanded research perspectives: books in the media space; the “culture of the book” paradigm, which is conducive to an “anthropologisation” of the bibliological process, perceived no longer only institutionally, from the perspective of social communication, but also through relations, interactions and value judgements of people participating in it, which shifts research priorities towards the questions of reading and often also towards “regional” approaches; theory of book art and research into book aesthetics. At the various stages of the development of bibliology and depending on the research perspective, the focus shifted from the book as a cultural artefact and its “life”, i.e. Bibliological process with its institutions, to functions of the book with regard to the public in the process of social and cultural transmission, and, finally, to the public as the creator and user of the culture of the book, the actions of which are “recorded” in bibliological documentation.