Parts of a book

... and where to place them

When putting a book together, there are certain conventions that publishers use in terms of parts and their sequence. While some parts may be moved around, some follow a logical flow. For example, the book title comes first, and then the table of contents should come before the contents of the book. Endnotes, by their name, also must come somewhere after the main content, near the end of the book.

Some pages are also flexible in terms of their contents, but some have certain requirements. An example of this is the imprint page, which should include the date of publication.

There are pages that also conventionally start on the right side of the page, which is called the “recto” side. (The left side is called the “verso” side.)

Here, we list the different parts of a book and their conventional sequence in a book.

1. Front Matter (Front Cover)

The front cover can be graphic or just text, but it should include the title of the book and the name of the author. If it is a collaborative work, such as an encyclopedia, no author name is required, but the collaborators should be listed on the List of Contributors page towards the end of the book.

2. Half Title Page

Contains only the title of the book with no subtitles or bylines (author’s name). This is always on the recto side.

3. Series Title Page

This is a list of other books of the author presented from most recently published to oldest. Usually, this page starts with the words, “Also by [author]”

4. Frontispiece

Page containing an artwork that is always on the verso side opposite the title page.

5. Title Page

This page contains the complete book title, which includes a subtitle if it has one. The name of the author also appears, as well as the co-writer and translator if there are any. This always appears on the recto side.

6. Imprint Page

This contains several things, but first the copyright notice. It contains the year and author’s name, and looks something like this:

Copyright © 2019 by John Doe
All rights reserved

It should also contain the publication details, which should include the printer, location, and date of publication. It looks something like this:

Printed in by Central Books Publishers
1234 Stellar Drive, Malate, Metro Manila

It can also contain the publishing history if it has been printed more than once. It can look like this:

2nd Printing, 2021

Any permissions should be included on the page. Catholic books that require permission for printing from a bishop, for example, need one. It looks something like this:

Nihil Obstat: Monsignor Michael S. David. Censor Liborum
Imprimatur: + Bishop Gabriel V. Cruz. Bishop of Quirino
10 February 2021

If there are any disclaimers, this is the page to include them. For Catholic books, for example, the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur can include something like this:

The Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur or official declaration that a book or pamphlet is free of doctrinal or moral error. No implication is contained therein that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat or Imprimatur agree with the content, opinions, or statements expressed.

The ISBN is always included on this page.

7. Dedication

If you want to honor an individual or individuals, this is the place to put it. The page usually starts with, “This book is dedicated to…” or something similar.

8. Table of Contents

The chapters should be listed as they appear in the book, and make sure that the pages are correct.

If the chapters don’t have names but are named by their chapter number (such as Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc), then there might be no need for a table of contents.

Odd-numbered pages are always in the recto side, while even-numbered pages are always on the verso side.

The Table of Contents should always start on the recto side, and pages before the Table of Contents should not be included in it.

9.List of Illustrations

This page is for a list of illustrations that enriches the text. If the illustration is for art’s sake or comic relief, then they are not included in this list.

10.List of Tables

This page is for a list of tables that is crucial to understanding the text. If the table is just a visual aid, then it is not included in the list.

11. Foreword

The foreword is written by someone other than the author who is usually a known expert on the topic. It gives credibility to the content and sometimes sets the tone of the book. While this is usually done for non-fiction, some fiction books do have this.

12. Preface

This is written by the author to share his or her thoughts on why he or she wrote the book. It can cover a short background, as well as the research methods used. If there is no separate Acknowledgement page, the author can acknowledge people on this page including their qualifications, expertise, and/or authority on the topic.

13. Acknowledgements

This page contains a list of people who helped in the realization of the book. They could have provided support in some way, made the illustration, wrote excerpts, etc.

14. Introduction

This is written by the author to tell the readers what to expect in the body of the book, the overall concept, and sometimes suggest how to use it. This is also where an author can expound on the research methods used.

15. List of Abbreviations

This page contains a list of abbreviations used in the book. They are listed alphabetically by the abbreviation (not by the spelled-out form.)

16. Prologue

In works of fiction, this is a short chapter that takes place before the main story beings. It is meant to draw in the reader by creating intrigue or suspense.

17. Body

This is the main content of the book. For non-fiction, It can be cut into chapters and subchapters to make it more manageable.

18. Epilogue

in works of fiction, this is a short chapter after the main body. It can serve to tie-up the events as if some sort of conclusions. It can also provide a glimpse of what happens next to the characters. Sometimes it introduces suspense to tie-up the next forthcoming installment in a series.

19. Appendix

Sometimes lengthy words may disrupt the flow of ideas in the main body of the work, so authors may choose to explain these in more detail in the appendix. Another use of the appendix is to list down references, tables, reports, background research, and sources used in the book.

20. Notes

In books where the author wants to include commentaries, it is included on this page. The notes are arranged in sequence of how they appear in each chapter.

21. Glossary

This is a page that provides the definitions or description of terminology that might not be generally known to the reader. They are arranged alphabetically.

22. Bibliography

This is a list of references used in putting the book together. It is arranged alphabetically using the author’s last name. The usual format is: author, title of the work, publisher, and year. It can look something like this:

Labriola, Albert C. and Smeltz, John W. Biblia Pauperum. Duquense University Press. 1990

23. Contributors

If the book was written by several authors, and only the editor’s name (or organization) appears on the title page, this is the page to list the writers. Brief notes can also be added to cite the qualifications of the writer. Authors are listed alphabetically by the last name, but unlike the Bibliography, the names are not inverted. The first name comes first. An example can be:

William T. Goldhouse – Curator of the Metropolitan Museum
Anthony E. Toledo – artistic director of Fontaine International

24. Index

This is a page that alphabetically lists words used in the book that readers can reference. The page numbers where the word appears appear beside the word.

25. Resources

This page can include lists that might be interesting to your reader. These can be organizations, associations, manufacturers, suppliers, services, distributors, and websites.

26. Back Matter (Back Cover)

The back of the book can contain almost anything. Conventionally it is used for the synopsis of the book so that if the book is sealed in plastic inside a bookstore, potential customers can read what the book is about. The back of the book can also contain testimonials from people who are widely known for the topic or genre. It can also take the place of the About the Author page.

The ISBN is always included so that customers and bookstores can reference them. For large book store chains, they may require a barcode of the ISBN.

*The reviews of Stephen King and Jeffrey Archer are not real, and are meant only to show what could be included in the back cover.

Get free consultation by contacting us now.

It's a no-commitment and risk-free step towards self-publishing your new book.

SimplePublish as your guardian angel

SimplePublish as your guardian angel

Most writers are creative and don't really want to bother with the correctness of the parts of a book. While one can arrange a book the way she or he wants, certain conventions just can't be broken. That's fine, SimplePublish is here to be your guardian angel and do that for you. We will advise you of the best way the parts can be arranged.