Anatomy of a Book Interior

Wondering how to organize your book interior? The following terms, sections and elements make up the anatomy of a book. Your book may not have ALL these elements, but it’s likely it will have many. This list is in a general order from front to back.   * = Indicates sections that are most commonly found in books.

End Papers: These are the blank pages (perhaps with images) you find at the beginning and end of a book.  They function to fill out the Signatures. Paperbacks may not have End Papers. Sometimes End Papers are referred to as Leaves. Book production usually calculates number of pages by number of signatures, always divisible by 4. So, 20 signatures = 80 pages. Or, 80 pages divided by 4 = 20 signatures. 

*Half Title Page: The book title appears on this page.

Other Books by the Author Page: This list may appear on the opposite side of the Half Title page, or on its own page following the Half Title page.

*Title Page: The book title and the names of the author(s) and the publisher are found here. On the back side of this page you’ll find the copyright notice, the ISBN (the International Standard Book Number) and printing numbers, the publisher’s address, the year the book was published, the Library of Congress Catalogue information, and more.

*Dedication Page: This element allows the author(s) to dedicate the book to someone or something.

*Acknowledgements: The author(s) often have plenty of assistance getting their book published. This page thanks people who have been helpful in some way: perhaps a writing instructor, the editor at the publishing house, the author’s agent, a supportive spouse, etc.

*Table of Contents: Also known as the TOC, the Table of Contents lists the individual chapters  and the page where each begins. It’s usually found in nonfiction books.

List of Charts, Diagrams, Photos or Illustrations: If included, this might follow the TOC to further detail the book’s contents.

Foreword: The Foreword is written by someone other than the book’s author(s) and provides insight not readily seen in the author’s content. Often this is written by an industry leader or someone close to the author.

*Preface: Written by the author(s), the Preface contains important information relating to the book topic. Sometimes referred to as Author’s Note.

Front Matter: All the pages up to this point are called the Front Matter. The page numbering is done in Roman numerals or some other system that differs from the body pagination.

*Introduction: The author gives the reader more details about the book in this optional section. In trade nonfiction books, the Introduction may be an informal “Dear Reader” letter getting the reader excited about the information presented, inviting the reader inside the book and giving an overview of the book’s contents. The pagination and page numbers starts here.

*Body or Chapters: This refers to the text of the book, which is usually broken down into chronologically numbered and named elements called Chapters. In nonfiction books each chapter may be divided into sub-titled segments which may be included in the TOC. In fiction, the chapters might contain segments called Scenes; these are separated by blank space within the text. They are usually not referenced in the TOC. In both fiction and nonfiction, chapters might be grouped together and labeled as Part 1, Part 2, etc.

Back Matter: All the pages appearing after the body of the book are called the Back Matter and included in the pagination of the book body.

Afterword: Not Afterward. Any additional information for the reader to know after having read the book is included here.

Appendices: Nonfiction books may have one or more Appendix listing recommended books, websites, organizations, or other resources relating to the book topic. -Fiction only occasionally has an Appendix.

Glossary: Usually found in nonfiction books, this section lists vocabulary words and their definitions as they relate to the book’s subject matter.

Bibliography: Lists the references used in writing the book.

Index: Usually in nonfiction books, the Index is an alphabetical list of significant terms found in the text and the pages they appear on, helpful to someone seeking specific information in the book.

*Author Biography: A sentence, paragraph or even a page about the author(s). Usually includes a photo of author(s).

This guide is useful for most books. Children's book, poetry books, textbooks, coloring books and many others may not follow this general guideline. When in doubt contact a publishing professional.