The parts of a book
By Candice Robertson
Parts of a Book - Everything You Need to Know (Blog Banner)

How well do you know the different parts of your book? Well, if you think you know what headbands, spines and signatures are, you can think again! Here’s a basic breakdown on the parts of a book:

Diagram of Anatomy of a Book (depicts spine, head, cover, board, joint, tail, pastedown, flyleaf, end sheet, fore edge, top edge, headband and hinge).

Board

Board is the thick cardboard under the paper or cloth covering on the outside of the book.

Cover Material

You can find cover material on hardcover books made from cardboard. The outside of the cover can feature either a paper, cloth or leather cover. Moreover, all of these coverings are available in different colours, embossing, coating and surface finishes. Check out our blog post on Book Cover Finishes for ideas on your cover!

Dust jacket

The dust jacket is the detachable outer cover, usually made of paper and printed with text and illustrations. This outer cover has folded flaps that hold it to the front and back book covers. Above all, not only are dust jackets decorative, but they also help protect books from dirt and damage!

Endsheet

These blank pieces of paper are glued to the inside cover of a hardcover book. They help to hold the textblock securely within the cover. As you may have seen in old books, if the endsheets break, the textblock is wobbly or falls out of the case while you try to use it. A standard endsheet is white and blank, but you can choose to add a solid-colour endsheet or a printed one.

Pastedown

The pastedown is the portion of the endpaper that is glued to the inner cover. It forms an essential part of a book’s structure, and along with its exterior binding, makes up the hinge of the book’s cover.

Flyleaf

A flyleaf is the loose part of an endsheet, which is not glued to the cover. Because this forms part of the endsheet, it can also feature colours or have something printed on it. 

Spine

A spine joins the front and back covers of a book. All of the pages are glued together here. So, when you place a book on a shelf, the spine is the part that faces outward.

Hinge

The hinge of a book is the section between the cover and the spine. As a result, this is where a book bends when it is opened. 

Joint

This is the outside or exterior portion of the hinge. 

Headband

This is a special piece of cord or material band at the top of the spine that hides the glue and helps to keep the spine together. Headbands provide structural reinforcement and sometimes decorative effects too! You find them most often in hardcover bindings. 

Footband

A footband is exactly the same as a headband. However, a footband is found at the bottom of a book spine. You might also know them as tailbands or endbands!

Fore-edge

The fore-edge of a book represents the fourth edge – not the spine, the top, or the bottom edge, but the outside edge that a reader uses to thumb through the book’s pages. It is the part of the book furthest away from the spine. Sometimes the fore-edge has decorative paintings or gold edging (called gilding).

Textblock

A textblock is simply the inside pages of a book. More precisely, the term refers to the block of paper formed by the cut and stacked pages of a book. Some people also call it a bookblock!

Signature

These bundles of pages are usually in groups of 8, 16, or 32 pages. These bundles begin as one large sheet of paper which is folded and trimmed to create individual pages. Several signatures bound together make up a textblock.

Gutter

The gutter is the space on the inside margin of pages where books are bound. Anything within the gutter typically isn’t visible.

Recto

In an open book, recto is the page on the right side.

Verso

In an open book, verso is the page on the left side.

Image showing all parts of a book

Now that you’re an expert on the various parts that make up a book, you’re ready to start creating your masterpiece! Contact us on info@preflightbooks.co.za for any further questions you may have on book parts!

Information adapted from BookPrinting.com.

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