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The tabular element is backed by default by a LATEX tabulary environment, which means that (differently to tbook) the preamble can specify column types of L, C or R which automatically wrap text to make the table fit horizontally on the page.
If the tabular element has a class of “long”, then it is backed by an ltxtable. This means that column types L, C and R are unavailable. Instead, for automatic width adjustment a column type of X should be specified, and then individual cells should have their alignment attribute set.
If the tabular element has a class of “long” and is enclosed by a table element with a class of “long”, then it will correctly span across pages.
If the preamble contains no uppercase Ls, Cs, Rs, or Xs, then the table is backed by a longtable and consequently may span across pages. This is used for advanced table markup.