1 The parts of a book

1.2 Preliminary matter

1.2.1 Constituents

Preliminary matter is any material that precedes the main text of the book. Preliminary pages are usually numbered with lower-case Roman numerals (rather than Arabic numerals) so that any late changes to the content or extent of the prelims will not affect the pagination of the main text. Page numbers (called folios) are not shown on every page of the prelims, though every page has its number (see also 1.5.1).

Prelims will always include some, and may include all, of the following items or sections, usually (but not always) in this order:

  • half-title page

  • half-title verso

  • frontispiece

  • title page

  • title page verso

  • dedication

  • foreword

  • preface

  • acknowledgements

  • contents

  • lists of illustrations, figures, and maps

  • list of tables

  • tables of cases and legislation (law books)

  • list of abbreviations

  • list of contributors

  • note to the reader

  • epigraph

Some but not all of these sections have headings in print, which are usually set to the same design as chapter headings. To facilitate navigation, digital or online versions may differ from print in having items in a different order (moving copyright information to the back, for example), or may include headings such as Dedication that don’t traditionally appear in print.

Besides prelims and end matter, a hardback (or case-bound) book may have endpapers at both ends of the book, often of slightly stronger paper than the text; endpapers consist of a single sheet, half of it pasted to the inside of the case and half forming a flyleaf or blank page at the beginning or end of the book. Figures, maps, or other illustrations are sometimes printed on the endpapers; any that are essential should be repeated within the text, because endpapers may be obscured or removed altogether in library copies of the book or when it is published in paperback or as a digital edition.

1.2.2 Half-title

The half-title page is the first page (p. i) of the book (after a flyleaf, if any) and thus falls on a recto. It contains the main title, and only the main title, of the book (or the title of the volume if the work is in more than one volume).

Not all books now have a half-title, and it may sometimes be dispensed with as a space-saving measure (see 1.8).

1.2.3 Half-title verso

The verso of the half-title page (p. ii) is often blank, though it may carry announcements from the publisher such as a list of other books in the series to which the volume belongs, or a list of other works by the same author. Sometimes it will be given over to a frontispiece (see below). The half-title verso falls opposite the title page and may be incorporated into a special design for this important spread.

1.2.4 Frontispiece

A frontispiece is an illustration that, in print, faces the title page, an important position that is justified by the significance or representative content of the image. In a biography a frontispiece is usually a portrait of the subject, in a work of history it might be a map or a facsimile of a document, and so on.

If the book has integrated illustrations (see 16.1.1), the frontispiece is likely to be printed on text paper like all the other illustrations. If the book has plates, the frontispiece, like other pictures, will usually be printed on glossy art paper; in this case the frontispiece will appear on the verso of a single leaf tipped in (that is, inserted and pasted) between the half-title verso and the title page. Note that tipping-in is a costly process and is best avoided if possible.

Like any illustration, a frontispiece will generally be identified by a caption, which may be printed beneath the image or close by (at the foot of the title page verso, for example). The frontispiece is, exceptionally, listed on the contents page (see 1.2.11 below).

As a frontispiece may not always be reproduced in all subsequent editions of a book (a paperback edition, for example), the author should avoid referring to it in the text.

1.2.5 Title page

The title page (p. iii) presents at least the following details:

  • • the complete title and subtitle of the work

  • • a volume number, if any

  • • the name of the author or editor

  • • the publisher’s name (called the imprint).

It may also include other, similar, information: for example a series title; the names of other people involved in the book’s preparation, such as a translator or an illustrator; the place of publication or the cities in which the publisher has offices; the publisher’s logo or colophon (device or emblem); and the date of publication.

The roles of people other than the author are defined by an introductory phrase, such as:

Selected and edited by
Translated by
With illustrations by

1.2.6 Title page verso

The title page verso (p. iv, also, variously, called the copyright, biblio, or imprint page) contains the essential printing and publication history of the work. It presents at least the following details:

  • • publisher’s imprint

  • • date of publication

  • • publishing history

  • • copyright line

  • • copyright notice(s)

  • • assertion of moral rights

  • • limitations on sales

  • • cataloguing in publication data

  • • ISBN

  • • statements concerning performing rights

  • • printer’s name and location.

Publisher’s imprint

The imprint consists of:

  • • the publisher’s name (or the name of a subdivision of the company if this bears a separate name)

  • • the publisher’s full registered postal address

  • • the place of publication.

It may also include the names of associated companies or offices, and the cities in which they are located.

Date of publication

The date of publication is given on the title page verso, whether or not it appears on the title page. For the first edition of a work the date of publication is usually the same as the copyright date (see below).

Publishing history

The publishing history of the book includes:

  • • reference to simultaneous co-publications of the work (with the name and location of the co-publishers)

  • • a description of the current version of the work (for example its edition number, if other than the first, or its status as a reprint)

  • • the sequence of editions, reprints, and publication in different bindings that has preceded the current version of the work, each of which is dated.

An edition is a version of a book at its first publication and at every following publication for which more than minor changes are made: a book goes into a new edition when it is revised, enlarged, abridged, published in a new format, or published in a different binding. A new edition requires a new ISBN (see below).

A reprint or impression is a republication of a book for which no corrections or only minor corrections are made. The publishing history usually distinguishes between these two states, describing them as ‘reprinted’ and ‘reprinted with corrections’. The publishing history usually details the issuing of multiple reprints in a single year: Reprinted 2004 (twice).

Copyright line

To qualify for protection under the Universal Copyright Convention, and for reasons of best practice, copyright ownership in a work must be stated in a particular form, giving the copyright holder’s name and the year of first publication, preceded by the copyright symbol:

© Ann Jones 2014

A work may have multiple copyright holders, such as co-authors, an illustrator, a translator, or the contributor of an introduction; the rights of each of them must be separately stated.

Copyright may be held by the publisher rather than by the creator(s) of the work, who in this case will have assigned the rights permanently, rather than have licensed them to the publisher.

For guidelines on copyright see Chapter 20.

Copyright notice(s)

Many publishers include one or more copyright notices in their books, explicitly reserving certain rights in the work. Such notices relate to reproduction, electronic storage, transmission in other forms, and rebinding. An example may be seen on the title page verso of this book.

Assertion of moral rights

Under the UK’s Copyright Act 1988 certain ‘moral rights’ in the work are enjoyed by its creator. Of these the right of paternity (the right to be identified as the author of the work) does not exist unless the author has explicitly asserted it. The assertion of this right, or of the author’s moral rights in general, is recorded on the title page verso in a form such as:

The author’s moral rights have been asserted

For an explanation of moral rights see Chapter 20.2.4.

Cataloguing in publication (CIP) data

Some national libraries, notably the British Library and the Library of Congress, compile catalogue records of new books before their publication. Publishers may include such records in full on the title page verso of the book, or may simply note that they are available. CIP data may not be altered in any way, even if it contains errors, without the written permission of the issuing library.

The CIP data is usually the means of stating the ISBN (International Standard Book Number), because this number is essential to the catalogue record. If CIP data is not reproduced in full the ISBN must be included elsewhere on the title page verso. The ISBN uniquely identifies the book in the particular edition to which it is attached. A new ISBN is needed for every new edition of the book, including reissue in a different binding and ebook editions. Each volume of a multi-volume work usually has its own ISBN, as may the set as a whole, though in some cases (notably where the volumes are not separately available for sale) a single number may be used for the whole set. The previous ten-digit ISBNs were replaced by thirteen-digit ISBNs in 2007; during the transition period, both were included.

A serial publication, such as a journal, magazine, or yearbook, has an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number), which is the same for all issues of the work.

The CIP data will often be accompanied by an indication of what impression a particular book represents. This may be a single number, or a series of numbers, the lowest number of which is that of the current impression. So the following line denotes a second impression:

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

Performing rights agencies

The public performance of dramatic and musical works is generally controlled on behalf of copyright holders by agents whom they empower to license performing rights. A clause stating that the right to perform the work is restricted, and giving the name and address of the agent to whom application must be made for permission to mount a performance, usually appears on the title page verso of printed plays and music.

Printer’s name and location

The printer’s name and location must be included on the title page verso.

Other information

The title page verso may present further information about the book as a publication. Typical elements include details of the design and production of the book, including the name and size of the typeface used and the name and location of the typesetting firm.

1.2.7 Dedication

The dedication is a highly personal expression on the part of the author. The publisher usually accepts its wording and content unchanged, and its design is usually subject to the author’s approval when that of the rest of the book is not. Whenever possible the dedication falls on a recto (usually p. v), but if, for reasons of space, it must be relocated to a verso, one must be chosen that gives it sufficient prominence (for example the last verso preceding the first page of the text).

1.2.8 Foreword

The foreword is a recommendation of the work written by someone other than the author. He or she is usually named at the end of the piece, or in its title, and in the contents list. The distinction between the foreword and the preface (see below) should be noted and the correct title given to each of these sections of the front matter. The foreword usually begins on a fresh recto.

1.2.9 Preface

The preface is the section where the author sets out the purpose, scope, and content of the book. In the absence of a full acknowledgements section, the author may include in the preface brief thanks to colleagues, advisers, or others who have helped in the creation of the work.

In a multi-author work the preface may be written by the work’s editor (Editor’s preface). All works in a series may contain the same preface by the series editor (Series editor’s preface), which precedes the preface by the author of each work. Successive editions of a work may have their own prefaces, each of which is appropriately titled (for example Preface to the second edition). If one or more earlier prefaces are reprinted in a new edition, they follow, in reverse numerical order, the preface belonging to that new edition; for example:

  • Preface to the paperback edition

  • Preface to the second edition

  • Preface to the first edition

The preface usually begins on a fresh recto, as do each of multiple prefaces unless reasons of economy dictate otherwise.

1.2.10 Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements (or, in US spelling, Acknowledgments) are of two types: those recognizing the ideas, assistance, support, or inspiration of those who have helped the author to create the work; and those listing the copyright holders in material (such as quotations and extracts) reproduced in the book. The first type may, if those acknowledged are few, be included in the preface (see above). The second type relate to the legal requirement to acknowledge the sources of reproduced material and in many cases to gain permission from copyright holders or their licensees for its use, and as such the wording printed should be exactly as required by the copyright holder, even if this is inconsistent with style used elsewhere in the book. (For guidelines on copyright see Chapter 20.)

It is best to separate the two types of acknowledgement. The author’s personal thanks follow the preface and are called simply ‘Acknowledgements’. The names of those who hold copyright in verbal material (such as epigraphs or quotations) are listed in a separate section headed ‘Copyright acknowledgements’, which can appear either in the prelims or in the end matter. Acknowledgement lines for figures, tables, and similar illustrations reproduced in the text are best listed alongside the illustration’s caption rather than on a separate page, unless otherwise specified by the copyright holder.

1.2.11 Contents

The list of contents (headed Contents) always falls on a recto. It records the title and initial page number of every titled section that follows it in the prelims, part titles, chapter titles, and all sections in the end matter, including the index. It usually includes reference to the frontispiece if one is present (see 1.2.4). lists in the prelims are referred to on the contents page as List of Illustrations, List of Abbreviations, etc., even though their own headings are best formulated simply as Illustrations, Abbreviations, etc.

Part titles, preceded by the word Part and a number, are listed in full, and a page number is given unless it is that of the following chapter in the part. The word Chapter may, but need not, appear before the number and title of each chapter, though if it is used in the list of contents it should also appear at the head of each chapter in thetext. It is customary to use upper-case Roman numerals for part numbers (see 1.3.3) and Arabic numerals for chapter numbers (see 1.3.4).

In complex works, such as textbooks, headings within chapters may be included on the contents page or even as a subsidiary table of contents at the start of each chapter. In a multi-author volume authors’ names as well as chapter titles are given in the contents list.

The wording, punctuation, capitalization, use of italics, and form of authors’ names in the contents list must match the headings as they appear in the text itself. No full point is needed at the end of any heading, nor are leader dots wanted between titles and page references. The numerals on the contents page at the editing stage will be those of the script, or ‘dummies’ such as xxx or 000; on hard copy they should be circled to indicate that they are not to be printed; in electronic files they can be omitted as they will be inserted automatically by the publishing software, along with the table of contents (so it may not be necessary for an editor to compile one—check with the client). At page-proof stage the typesetter should have inserted the correct page references, but they must be checked by the proofreader.

The first volume of a multi-volume work published simultaneously or at short intervals should contain a contents list and list of illustrations (if relevant) for the entire set. Each subsequent volume needs lists only for that volume.

1.2.12 Lists of illustrations, figures, and maps

Illustrations numbered sequentially through the work are presented in a single list. Different types of illustrative material, numbered in separate sequences, are presented in separate lists, usually in the order illustrations, figures, maps.

Such a list consists of the captions, which may be shortened if they are discursive, and the sources or locations of the illustrative material where relevant. As with the contents, the correct page numbers for all illustrative material that is integrated with the text (though not those of plates in a separate section) may need to be inserted at page-proof stage, if not done automatically by the publishing software.

1.2.13 List of tables

A list of tables is useful only when the work contains many tables of particular interest. The list gives the table headings, shortened if necessary, and page numbers; sources appear in the text beneath each table.

Tables of cases and legislation

In most law books the judgments referred to in the text are listed, usually alphabetically by significant name, with the corresponding pagination or section number. The table may be subdivided according to jurisdiction, especially if there is a large number of cases. International cases may be listed by country.

Tables of legislation are ordered in a similar way but may be listed either alphabetically or chronologically.

1.2.14 List of abbreviations

The text of a book should be so presented as to ‘explain’ itself without recourse to external sources of information. Abbreviations that readers may be unable to interpret must be included in a list with the full form spelled out alongside each one. Well-known abbreviations that need no explanation (such as ad, bc, UK, and US) are not included in the list, nor are any that will be common knowledge to the expected readership of the work, although even here, for an international readership, it is safest to include all the abbreviations. In a multi-author book or work that will not be read serially, a list of abbreviations can obviate the need to spell them out the first time they are used in every chapter. If a term occurs only very rarely in the text it is better to spell it out at each occurrence than to use an abbreviation. The practice of spelling out a short form at the first instance of its use does not obviate the need for inclusion of a list of abbreviations. See also Chapter 10.

If the abbreviations are used in text or notes the list is best placed in the prelims of the book; if, however, abbreviations are used only in the bibliography, endnotes, or appendices, the list may be presented at the head of the relevant section. Arrange the list alphabetically by abbreviated form.

1.2.15 List of contributors

In a multi-author work it is customary to list the contributors and provide relevant information about each one, such as institutional affiliation or post held, a short biography, or details of other publications. The more detailed and discursive the entries are, the more appropriate it will be to place the list in the end matter of the work rather than the preliminary pages.

The list should be ordered alphabetically by contributor’s surname (though names are presented in natural order, not inverted), and names should match the form in the contents list and the chapter headings. The presentation of each entry should as far as possible be standardized.

1.2.16 Epigraph

An epigraph is a relevant quotation placed at the beginning of a volume, part, or chapter, and is distinguished typographically from other displayed quotations. An epigraph relating to the entire volume is placed on a new page, preferably a recto, immediately before the text or in another prominent position within the prelims. Epigraphs for parts or chapters may be placed on the verso facing the part or chapter title or under the heading of the part or chapter to which they relate. The use of epigraphs and their positioning must be consistent throughout the work.

Epigraph sources are usually ranged right (see 2.5.1) under the quotation. The author’s name and the title and date of the work are usually sufficient: further details are not normally included because readers are not expected to want to verify the quotation.

1.2.17 Other sections

Many publications need a short explanation of conventions, terminology, or forms of presentation used in the text, or guidance on how to use the book. Such information is best placed as near as possible to the beginning of the text and often carries the title Note to the reader or How to use this book.

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New Hart's Rules


Preface Editorial team Proofreading marks Glossary of printing and publishing terms