On the internet, you can find many posts that refer to the different parts of a book, but practically all of them mix the parts of books “as an object” with the different parts according to their content.
For proper communication in professional environments, language precision is required. In our day-to-day work as book printers for our clients, we realize the importance of this precision, as it is a way to ensure the successful completion of the work.
These are the parts of a book
That is why we thought it would be interesting to provide you with a summary of the terms we normally use when referring to the different physical parts of a book, those most directly related to the printing and binding processes. Let’s see what they are:
Cover and back cover
The covers of a book are the outer part, what we perceive when the book is closed. They are composed of the cover, the back cover and the spine. The cover of a book is the front of the book. An attractive cover design is a factor that will promote the sales of your book.
The back cover is, as expected, the back part, which usually includes a brief presentation of the work that encourages reading (and buying) it. And as Mariana Eguaras reminds us in her excellent blog, the cover of a book is not its inside cover and the back cover is not its inside back cover), so don’t fall into this common confusion.
Covers are usually printed on thicker papers than the inside pages, and can be finished with techniques such as lamination. In our online store, you will find a wide variety of papers for your book covers, as well as different types of lamination (gloss, matte, anti-scratch matte) and spot UV varnish.
The spine is part of the covers; it is the part of the book that lies between the front cover and the back cover, its function is to bind both parts together with the pages of the book. The spine usually includes the book’s title, the name of the author or authors, and also the name and/or logo of the publishing house.
The spine is usually attached to the book’s interior with glue. The most common adhesives used in commercial printing today are EVA glue, used in perfect-bound books, and PUR glue, which is stronger and used in PUR perfect-bound books.
When it comes to preparing the printing of a book, covers are perhaps the most challenging element. To make the cover design process less daunting, we have prepared a post in which we explain how to prepare your book for printing in a very simple way.
Front, Head and Tail: the edges of a book
We refer to the top edge of a book’s pages when it is closed as the “head”, and the bottom edge is known as the “tail”. Simple, isn’t it?
Both Head and Tail are “cuts” of the book (to make them you have to “cut” there). The third necessary cut is known as the “front”, “edge” or “fore-edge”. If you look at the books you have at home, you’ll see that this last cut is straight, but in books with a round spine it is not straight but concave.
The interior or “block”
The interior is, as its name indicates, the set of the inner pages that make up a particular volume. In the bookbinding industry, we usually refer to the “block” when we refer to the interior.
Depending on the type of binding, the block will be made up of folded sheets or loose sheets. In the case of sewn paperback binding and hardcover, the block is formed by gathering and sewing together various folded sheets, while the blocks of books with perfect binding are previously cut before being ground, glued and attached to the covers.
Flaps are extensions of the cover and/or back cover folded inwards so that they are not visible when the book is closed. They are a way to give a greater thickness to the covers in the case of paperback bound books, conveying a feeling of better quality than without them.
In addition, a book’s flaps are the perfect support to show us information of interest, such as the author’s biography or to present us with other books in the same collection. In our online store, you can indicate everything related to flaps in the price calculation form:
In graphic arts, a ” score ” is the result of pressing a sheet of paper against a blade without cutting it, obtaining a linear mark on the surface of the paper. This mark allows the paper to be easily folded along the fold line.
In the specific case of books, it is common to perform what is called a “hinge score” a few centimeters from the spine on both the cover and the back cover, with a dual purpose: to facilitate the opening of the covers (remember that these are usually quite stiff papers) and also to provide an additional aesthetic touch.
Dust jackets, jackets, and sleeves
Jackets, sleeves,… as you can see, when we refer to the element that protects the covers, language is especially descriptive and rich in textile similes. Dust jackets are a part that we usually find in the case of hardcover books, and in addition to their protective function, in the case of cloth or leather bindings they allow for an attractive full-color cover, since direct color printing on these surfaces is not possible.
Book belly bands
And continuing with the textile vocabulary transferred to the world of books, we find the “belly bands”, paper strips that wrap (“band”) the book not yet sold and that are often used to advertise it.
Endpapers, a term specific to hardcover binding, are the sheets that connect the text block with the covers of the book. Every hardcover book consists of 2 endpapers: the front endpaper or cover endpaper, and the back endpaper or back cover endpaper.
Correctly speaking, endpapers are 2-sheet sets. In the case of the front endpaper, the left sheet is glued onto the cover cardboard, and the right sheet is left free, like an extra sheet. In the case of the back endpaper, the left sheet is left free and the right one is glued onto the back cover cardboard.
The most common support for endpapers is 140 g offset paper, which offers good consistency and quality.
If you look at the “head” or “foot” of books, have you ever noticed that some have a kind of strip of colorful cloth? Their function is to decorate the book and protect its interior from dust, and although they are a more typical element of handmade bookbinding, they are also found in some “industrial” books.
And that’s it for our review of the parts of a book! They are not all there, of course, and much more could be said about each one of them, but we hope this post has been helpful to you.
If you are interested in printing books, in the following video we show you how to get the price of your books… in less than 1 and a half minutes!
Parts of a book guide
|Parts of a Book||Description|
|Cover and back cover||The front and back protective panels of the book. The cover typically includes the book title, author’s name, and often features artwork or design elements.|
|Spine||The narrow edge of the book connecting the front cover and back cover. It usually displays the title, author, and publisher’s logo.|
|Front, Head, and Tail||These refer to the three outer edges of the book’s pages. The front edge is the side where the book opens, the head is the top edge, and the tail is the bottom edge.|
|Interior or “block”||The collection of pages held together within the book cover. This includes the text, illustrations, and any other content that makes up the main body of the book.|
|Flaps||Folded extensions of the book cover, often found on hardcover books. Flaps may contain additional information about the book, such as a synopsis or author bio.|
|Hinge score||The groove or indentation along the inner margin of the cover where the pages are attached to the book’s spine. It allows the book to open and close easily without damaging the binding.|
|Dust jackets, jackets, and sleeves||Additional protective covers, typically made of paper, that wrap around the book cover. They provide an extra layer of protection and often feature artwork or promotional material.|
|Book belly bands||Decorative or promotional bands that wrap around the cover or dust jacket of a book. They may contain additional information, such as quotes, reviews, or advertising.|
|Endpapers||The pages glued to the inside covers of a hardcover book. They often have a different color or design and serve as a transition between the cover and the main text.|
|Headbands||Decorative bands or ribbons attached to the top and bottom of the book’s spine. They provide reinforcement and aesthetic appeal to the book’s binding.|
IN ADDITION: This is how we print your books
We want to share with you the visit that Televisión Española made to our facilities to see the operation of a book printing press.