Book structure, front & back matter of a book
Take a closer look at book structure, front matter, and back matter of a book. All books have divisions for the interior. This influences how a book will be compiled. The author takes into consideration the parts of a book for each division. A designer needs to know if the part begins on a right- or left-hand page. Blank pages may be used. For instance, if there are two parts, each one page long and both are right-hand pages to follow each other, a blank page is inserted in between.
The pages of a book printing on press usually print in 8-, 12-, or 16-page signatures. We can print fewer pages in a signature, but it is not half the cost for a lower page count signature.
Example: A manuscript is completed with 108 pages, or 14 8-page signatures; 8 x 14 = 112 pages, so 4 pages available in the signature.
- The divisions are front matter, text, and back matter that make up the book structure.
- Every leaf is two pages because it has a front side and a back side.
- Front matter is numbered in Roman numerals. The text and the back matter in a book are numbered in Arabic numerals.
Divisions in a book
The divisions consist of front matter, text, and back matter of a book. First, we need to describe what a page is versus a leaf.
A page in a book is one side of a leaf. A leaf has a front and a back side; recto and verso. If you have a 100-page book, that means the leaf count is 50. When requesting a quote for printing or design, the page count is 100. Sometimes people provide an odd number, like 99. We wonder if the person means 99 leaves or 198 pages. The page count is always an even number. The number of leaves is irrelevant. Blank pages count.
- Recto is a right-hand page and the first to be read.
- Verso is a left-hand page, read second.
The following chart is used with the permission of The Chicago Manual of Style:
|Half title page||i|
|Series title, frontispiece, or blank||ii|
|(Table of) Contents||v or vi|
|(List of) Illustrations||recto or verso|
|(List of) Tables||recto or verso|
|Acknowledgments (if not part of preface)||recto or verso|
|Introduction (if not in back matter)||recto|
|Abbreviations (if not in back matter)||recto|
|Chronology (if not in back matter)||recto|
|Second half title||recto|
|Text||First text page (introduction or chapter 1) |
|Second half title or first part title||1|
|First text page||3|
|Acknowledgments (if not in front matter)||recto|
|Appendix (or first, if more than one)||recto|
|Second and subsequent appendices||recto or verso|
|Chronology (if not in front matter)||recto|
|Abbreviations (if not in front matter)||recto|
|Bibliography or References||recto|
|(List of) Contributors||recto|
|Illustration Credits (if not in captions or elsewhere)||recto|
There are some mandatory pages in front matter. The physical book, Book Design: Simple & Professional, is designed with notes in light gray type at the bottom of specific pages. The book also contains more images than displaying her on the website. We are noting optional pages along with whether they are a right- or left-hand page. Some can be either. See the chart above.
- Half title page (optional). If used, it is page i. Depending on the number of pages needed to print a signature, you may use the half title page to adjust page count.
- Series title, frontispiece, or blank is next, on page ii.
- Title page is page iii, or it is page i in front matter, if a half title page is not used.
- Copyright page, a left-hand page, following title page. List the country where the book is printed. Use the name of the person or the entity that holds the copyright. Consult an attorney with any questions. Example: © 2021 by [author name or entity]. All rights reserved.
- Dedication may follow (optional), and it is a right-hand page.
- Table (of contents) is next and may start on a right- or left-hand page.
- Contents may be on one page or several pages.
- (List of) Illustrations may start on a right- or left-hand page.
- (List of) Tables may start on a right- or left-hand page.
On to the foreword (not forward)
- Foreword (optional) follows, starting on a right-hand page. It is written by someone other than the author.
- Preface (optional) is next in front matter, starting on a right-hand page. The author writes the preface.
- Acknowledgments (optional) follows the preface, starting on a right-hand page. It may instead appear in the back matter.
- Introduction (optional) or may be in back matter. The Introduction may start on a right- or left-hand page.
- Abbreviations (optional) or may be in back matter, and they start on a right-hand page.
- Chronology (optional) in front matter or may be in back matter, starting on a right-hand page.
- Second half title (optional) and is a right-hand page.
- Lowercase Roman numerals are used in the front matter. The first page of a book is page 1, or i, and is always a right-hand page.
- Many front matter page numbers are not visible. Instructions for page number set-up on masters, and the use of masters, paragraph styles, and character styles in Chapter 5, Interior Pages.
Text or body matter
All text between the front matter and the back matter in a book, is the body matter or text. The first page following front matter is the first page of a chapter, part, or section; whatever the author includes in the book.
- The front matter begins with page i and the body matter begins with page 1, always a right-hand page. When requesting a printing quote, add the page count of the front matter to the page count of the body matter and back matter. Blanks do count.
- The body matter is numbered in Arabic numerals.
Not every book has back matter. For instance, the structure of a novel seldom has need for back matter in a book.
- Acknowledgments (if not in front matter) is optional and starts on a right-hand page.
- Appendix (or first, if more than one) is optional, and starts on a right-hand page.
- Second and subsequent appendices (optional) and may start on a right- or left-hand page.
- Chronology (optional) and (if not in front matter) starts on a right-hand page.
- Abbreviations is optional, and, if not in front matter, starts on a right-hand page.
- Notes (optional) starts on a right-hand page.
- Glossary (optional) and the glossary always starts on right-hand page.
- Bibliography or References (optional) Each of these start on a right-hand page.
- (List of) Contributors (optional) starts on a right-hand page.
- (List of) Illustration Credits (if not in captions or elsewhere) starts on a right-hand page and is optional.
- Index(es) is optional and starts on a right-hand page.
- The back matter is numbered with Arabic numerals.
Make sure to plan your book. That wraps up the basic on book structure, front matter, and back matter of a book!