1. Parts of a Book
2. Book Page Numbering
1. Parts of a Book
From Jacci Howard Bear, About.com Guide
Most books will have at least a front and back cover,
title page, and body text but usually there will be many more parts of
a book design. Explore the physical components of hardcover and
softcover books as well as the design elements that make of the text
portion of most books.
A book consists of the Text Block and a Cover.
The Text Block
is everything between the covers of the book including the endpapers.
It is composed of pages, leaves, sheets, and signatures. One sheet of
paper, folded in half is two leaves and four pages. One half of each
sheet of folded paper is a leaf. Each side of each leaf is a page. A
signature is two or more sheets of paper (2 leaves/4 pages) stacked and
folded as a group. Several signatures are bound together with adhesive
or stitching to form most books.
Each printed page of the text block contains an area
known as the type page - the area of a printed page excluding
non-printing areas (margins, gutter) as well as some printed areas
including headers, footers, and page numbers.
The Text Block consists of three parts:
- Front Matter
- Body of the Book
- Back Matter
So called because it is all the material that appears at
the front of the book, before you reach the actual body content, the
front matter may be as simple as a single title page or table of
contents or it could be comprised of multiple title pages, a detailed
table of contents, and several pages for the preface and foreword.
books may have a half title page, the first page of the book
containing title only. This page does not include a byline or subtitle.
As a minimum the title page would normally have the title of the book
and the name of the author and illustrator.
Also called a frontis, this is an illustration typically found opposite the title page or elsewhere in the front of the book.
Other information may depend on the type of publication.
Technical or software manuals may include more information on the
specific products covered, safety notices, and warranties, while a book
of poetry may have only copyright and publisher information.
- Publisher Name and Address
- Copyright information
- Library of Congress number
- Edition Notice
- Date of publication
- Number of printings
- Safety Notices
More detailed information for the copyright page can be found at Copyright
Table of Contents
A table of contents may be as simple as listing all the
main chapter titles and the page they start on or be multi-level with
sub-chapters and descriptions.
List of Figures / Illustrations
Some books have a separate table of contents for the
illustrations, photos, chartes, and graphs that might give the name or
source of the illustration (if there are mulitple contributors /
sources), a title or description of the illustration, and the page
The preface gets the reader to read the book by briefly
describing the contents, purpose of the book, and explaining who the
book targets. For example, a software manual may be aimed at beginners
or power users. The preface might describe the terminology or special
conventions used in the book, such as symbols used for warnings, tips,
Often written by an acknowledged expert in the field or
genre covered by the book, the foreword is something of a testimonial
for the author or the book itself.
A dedication section is a separate page that briefly
names one or more persons of special significance to the author, often
a loved one or someone else the author holds in high esteem.
An acknowledgment page is where the author acknowledges
the contributions of organizations and individuals who he or she feels
helped with the book.
The errata is a list of corrections that describes the
error, where it occurs, and what the correct text or illustration
should be. Generally added as a separate slip of paper somewhere in the
front matter, it might be bound into the book.
Body of the Book
The body of the book is where you'll find the story, the
description, the main text of the book. This is the main portion of the
publication. In longer books and manuals the body is often sub-divided
into chapters or sections
The first chapter of the book may serve as an
introduction or it can be a separate section that precedes chapter 1.
Often shorter than other chapters of the book, the introduction is
similiar to or may replace the preface that describes the contents and
purpose of the book.
Chapters divide the action or the subject matter of the
book into smaller sections. The length can vary but each chapter
usually follows the same general format in terms of the style and
layout of the page elements.
Titles that identify each chapter, the chapter head may
appear on a page preceding the body text or the text of the chapter may
start on the same page.
Subheads within each chapter divide the chapter into smaller sections.
Header / Footer
Headers and footers, also known as running heads, are
repeating text - often the title of the book or the specific chapter
within the book - that appears at the top (header) or bottom (footer)
of each page or every other page in a book design.
The page number is sometimes incorporated with the running headline or footer.
When the book has multiple authors, such as a
compilation of short stories, the byline is a short phrase or paragraph
that indicates the name of the author for an individual story or
The byline commonly appears between the chapter head and start of the chapter.
Arabic numbering may start with the front matter on the
first (half- title) page and carry on to the end. This practice is
becoming more common. Books with this numbering method indicate more
pages than those using Roman and Arabic. In the second case, Roman
numerals are used for the front matter, then Arabic page numbering
starting with the first chapter page. The latter method is preferred
for scientific, technical and business books. Occasionally, material at the
end of the book, such as an appendix, may have a separate numbering
system such as A-1, A-2, etc. for Appendix A.
Blank pages, title pages and occasionally some other front matter pages do not show the page number.
Outside the main text, notices may take the form of
tips, alerts, or trivia related to the main discussion. These are
generally small chunks of text set apart by font, color, or position
and are often identified with a distinctive header or icon.
Notices may be placed within the body of the text or the
layout may include an extra column (such as a wide outer page margin)
where such notices appear.
Photos / Illustrations
A book design layout may contain photographs, drawings,
charts, graphs, or clip art. Software manuals typically contain screen
shots, charts, and icons. Illustrations may appear on their own page or
be integrated into the text.
To save money, a book design may be printed in black and
white but include a section of pages in the middle or at the end of the
book that groups all full color photos together.
The caption is a phrase, sentence, or paragraph
describing the contents of an illustration such as a photograph or
chart. The caption is usually placed directly above, below, or to the
side of the picture it describes.
Often found in scholarly publications or textbooks,
footnotes are notes usually found at the bottom of a page of a book
that cites a reference or provides additional explanations for a
designated part of the text. Subscript numbers adjacent to the
designated text coincide with the same notations found in the
footnotes. Footnotes can appear at the end of a page (before the
footer), end of a chapter, or may be consolidated into a section of
pages at the end of the book, where they are called endnotes.
Also called an afterword, the epilogue is a short
section following the last chapter that tells about what happened to
the characters in the future, after the conclusion of the main story.
Computer books, manuals, and other types of books that don't involve a
storyline and actual characters (real or fictional) won't normally have
The number and type of sections that follow the final
chapter vary by the type of book. Technical publications generally have
more of these end-of-the-book components including an index and an
Material that doesn't fit within the body of the book is
often included in an appendix. In a software manual, a table of
shortcuts might appear in an appendix. A craft book might have an
appendix listing names, addresses, and other contact information for
craft supplies and other resources mentioned in the book. A technical
manual that must include lengthy warranty information might put it in
an appendix instead of in the title page.
Bibliography or References
The bibliography or references section
is a list of resources related to the subject of the book. It may list other books, magazines or specific articles, and
Web sites. Be sure to arrange the sources alphabetically by the
author's last name.
When footnotes (see Text Block elements) are
consolidated at the end of a chapter or at the end of the book, they
are called endnotes.
The glossary lists acronyms, words, and phrases relevant
to the subject of the book along with a brief definition. The format
may vary but two typical glossary formats are:
1 column: The glossary term in bold followed by the definition.
2 column: The glossary term in one column with the definition across from it in the second column.
Arranged alphabetically and by subject with page
numbers, the index breaks the book down into all the many sub-topics
and ideas covered in the body of the book. Desktop publishing software
can often handle the creation of simple index pages. More complex
indexing is often accomplished with third-party software and the
services of a professional indexer. Most self-published authorscreate their own index in Word.
List of Contributors
A list of contributors is useful for a multiauthor work
where only the volume editor’s name appears on the title page. You
should arrange entries alphabetically by last name, but do not invert
them (“John H. Doe,” not “Doe, John H.”). If it’s necessary, you may
also add brief biographical notes and academic affiliations for each
About the Author
A brief biography of the author at the end of the book; a shorter
version may be used for the back cover and other marketing purposes.
The About the Author entry usualloy consists of a paragraph or two
describing what you are doing now professionally; significant degrees
and licenses; significant jobs, projects, or work experiences; and
perhaps a sentence of personal information. You may also include a
Sometimes found in the front matter and most often found
in older books, the colophon is a list or description of typefaces,
type of paper, printing method, and possibly software used to produce
Could be an actual page bound into the book or it may be
a separate page or postcard slipped into the book that asks the reader
to respond with comments or questions about the book.
Teasers / Excerpts
Fiction books especially may have pages that look like
ads describing other books by the same author or the same publisher,
sometimes with ordering information. Excerpts or the first chapter from
the author's next book or the next book in a series may appear at the
end of the book.
2. Book Page Numbering
page numbering starts on the first page (half-title page, or title page
if no half-title)
with the Roman numeral i. Roman numeral page numbering ends on the left
(verso) page just before the first text or chapter page. Page numbering
then starts again on the first text or chapter page(recto or right)
with the Arabic number 1 and continues through to the end of the book.
There has been a growing trend, particularly in novels,
for numbering to start on the fist page with Arabic number 1 and
continuing through to the end, without using Roman numberal at all.
Page numbers are generally ommited from blank pages as well as some of the front matter pages.
Page Sequence and Numbering a books pages
Front Matter (Preliminaries)
Book half title (Not required) i
Series title, list of contributors, testimonials, frontispiece, or blank ii
Title page iii
Copyright notice, publisher’s agencies, printing history,
country where printed, ISBN, CIP iv
Dedication (or epigraph) v
(Table of) Contents v or vii
(List of) Illustrations recto or verso
Foreword recto or verso
Preface recto or verso
Acknowledgements (if not part of preface) recto or verso
Introduction (if not part of text) recto or verso
(List of) Abbreviations or chronology recto or verso
First text page (introduction or chapter 1) 1
Second book half-title or ﬁrst part title 1
First text page 3
Subsequent chapters usually start on right pages, but may also start on left pages.
Appendix(es) recto or verso
Notes recto or verso
Glossary recto or verso
Bibliography recto or verso
(List of) Contributors recto or verso
Index(es) recto or verso