Have you always wondered what all of the pages at the beginning of a book mean?
Maybe you’ve flipped through the first few pages of a
book and wondered what all that information is about, or maybe you’ve
always just skipped those pages. All the material that appears at the
front of a book before the actual content is called front matter, and
it actually contains some very important information! After having a
look at other books and reading the list below, you should be able to decide what to include in your front matter.
What is front matter?
Front matter is the first section of a book and is
generally the shortest; it is also sometimes called the prelims, or
preliminary matter. It can be as simple as a single title page, or it
can include multiple title pages, forwards, a preface, and much more.
What is included in front matter really depends on the type of
publication, so let’s go over some of the possibilities.
Examples of front matter
Half title: A
half title is a page that has only the main title of the publication.
The subtitle and author’s name are omitted in this page of the front
Title page(s): A
title page has, at a minimum, the full title of the work, including the
subtitle (if any), and the name of the author and—if
applicable—illustrator. Everything else depends on the type of book,
but may include Publisher’s name and address
Copyright page: will contain
Date of publication
Number of printings
dedication is a part of the front matter that is written by the author
and includes the names of the person/persons for whom the publication
Epigraph: An epigraph is a quotation included by the author that is relevant but not essential to the text.
Table of Contents: A
table of contents is typically in the middle of the front matter. It
may be a very simple listing of what is in the book, or it may be very
detailed and include descriptions of each chapter or section.
erratum is a correction to the document. Errata are commonly added
shortly after the first publication. The errata are sometimes found in
the back of the book (called the back matter).
foreword is an essay, or short piece of writing, written by someone
other than the author. It often explains the relationship between the
writer of the foreword and either the author or the story being told.
preface is an introduction to the book that is written by the author.
It usually covers how the publication came into being, where the idea
for the book came from, etc.
Another part of front matter is an acknowledgement, which is written by
the author and acknowledges those who have helped him/her in the
writing of the publication.
Introduction: An introduction lists the goals and the purpose of the book.
prologue is the opening of a story and usually provides the background
details and setting of the story; it is typically located immediately
prior to the first chapter.
Front matter may also contain a list of the figures,
illustrations, or tables in the book, a list of abbreviations, a
frontispiece, a list of contributors, and endpapers.