What's the difference between “contents” and “content”?

The contents of a suitcase, including a puppy.

People often confuse “content” and “contents“.  These words are used differently in English.

“Content” is the stuff you read, see or hear through some medium. “Content” means the words on a page, or the ideas in a book. It is the message, meaning and information. Film companies and music labels are content providers. You might say, “The content on this website is really great, but the design is terrible!”

“Contents“, with an “s”, means things that are inside a container. For example, at the airport, security might say to you, “Please show me the contents of your bag.”

But what about the contents page in a book? In that case, the contents page is telling you what is contained in the book you are reading.