Book Layout

laying out a book correctlyBook design software (Quark Xpress, InDesign, etc.) is not going to make your publication acceptable to the trade, unless your book also adopts the usual page arrangement, which is:

In the front, before the actual text of the novel or poems, comes:

Half title (optional)






previous publications (optional)

Library of Congress catalogue number (or equivalent)


Copyright notice

Name and address of publishing company


Permissions to quote

Previous appearances of material

Personal acknowlegements (if no Preface exists)

Dedication (optional)

To person or persons, often in italics

Epigraph (optional)

Quotation that sets tone

Table Of Contents

Subject, chapter or poem title


If pertinent


personal acknowledgements: must begin on right-hand page

Text Body

Must begin on right-hand page. Individual chapters also begin on a fresh right-hand page. Poems start on a fresh page.

Not all these introductory pages are necessary, many being employed to simply mop up what would be otherwise be left blank by the printing process, which operates in multiples of four (and occasionally eight: octavo).

At the back of book, following the main text, will come:

Appendices (optional)

Glossary (optional)


Advertisements (optional)


The trade jargon is:


Hardback books with covers of cloth-covered card and dust wrapper. Expensive: as most books were before paperbacks appeared

Perfect Bound

Typical paperbacks, with the spine squared off and fixed with printer's glue. Cover may be heavy-duty cover stock or (generally) plastic laminated stock.


Pages are secured by staples along the spine: usual for booklets of 64 pages or less. Covers are cover stock (but may have dust wrappers in deluxe editions).


Commercial printing paper comes in two categories, coated and uncoated, and is subdivided into weights. Text stock is the lighter weight paper used for the inside of the booklet: 50# and 60# white offset text are the more usual weights. Cover stock is the heavier and more durable paper used for the outside: 80# or 100# gloss cover are often preferred, especially for colour printing. Heavier paper costs more, but suggests quality.

Paper Sizes

US and European usages differ. See here for a handy table of book sizes.


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