1 The parts of a book

1.8 Even workings

The pages of the publication are printed on the quad sheet in an order determined by the pattern of folding to be applied to it during the binding process; the arrangement or ‘imposition’ of the pages on both sides of the sheet is complex.

Each sheet forms a section or signature of the finished book; depending on the size of the sheet and the format of the book, the signature may consist of four, eight, sixteen, thirty-two, sixty-four, or even more pages. In the interests of economy it is desirable to ensure that the entire text of the book fits neatly into an exact multiple of the number of pages in each signature so that there are no blank pages at the end of the final section. At a late stage in the production of a print book it may be necessary to restrict the extent of the text in order to fit it exactly, or as nearly as possible, into signatures—that is, to achieve an ‘even working’. This must be done without disrupting the pagination of the main text. The usual recourse is to reduce the number of pages in the prelims (which are not part of the main sequence of pages), often by sacrificing the luxury of blank versos and using them for sections that would ideally be placed on rectos; another option is to limit the extent of the end matter, normally by shortening the index or setting it in smaller type.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

New Hart's Rules


Preface Editorial team Proofreading marks Glossary of printing and publishing terms