What Are the Parts of a Book?

What Are the Parts of a Book?
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  • 0:00 Parts of a Book
  • 0:28 Front Matter
  • 3:13 Body Matter
  • 3:22 End Matter
  • 4:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christina Boggs

Chrissy has taught secondary English and history and writes online curriculum. She has an M.S.Ed. in Social Studies Education.

Books come in many different types, from historical nonfiction to science fiction. But no matter the type, books generally come in similar structures. In this lesson, we'll discuss the main parts of a book, including the front, body, and end.

Parts of a Book

When you open a book, do you ever think of the different parts that make up what you're about to read? Odds are you haven't given it much thought. Whether you realized it or not, books are made up of three main sections:

  • Front matter
  • Body matter
  • End matter

Each of these sections is made up of smaller sub-sections. Let's see what makes up the front matter, body matter, and end matter.

Front Matter

The front matter of a book includes information before the actual text of the book or story, and it often has page numbers written in Roman numerals. In general, the front matter is made up of nine different parts. It's important to know that not all books will have all nine parts.

Half Title, Frontispiece, and Title Page

The first three parts of the front matter include the half title, frontispiece, and title page. The half title is usually the first page when you open the cover of the book--it includes just the title of what you are about to read. The title is usually printed at the halfway point on the page (hence the name 'half title').

The frontispiece is printed on the left-side page following the half title and includes an image or a picture. Many fiction books include a frontispiece that depicts a scene from the story, but not all books will have a frontispiece. The title page is often printed on the right-hand page facing the frontispiece. Title pages include the title of the book as well as the author(s) and publisher (the company that printed the book).

Copyright Page

One of the most important parts of a book's front matter is the copyright page. This page includes information about who has legal rights to the information in the book, and it gives credit to the various people who helped publish, edit, or illustrate the book. You can also find the edition of the book on the copyright page. The edition lets you know how many times the book has been printed--if a book is 'first edition,' that means this is the first time the content has been published. The copyright page also includes the cataloging information. For instance, if the book was published in the U.S., it would display the Library of Congress Catalog Number.

Dedication and Acknowledgments Pages

After the copyright page is often a dedication page that tells the reader who the author wrote the book for. In many instances, books are dedicated to close friends, loved ones, or colleagues. Some books also have an acknowledgments page, which is located in the right-hand side facing the dedication and mentions the people who helped the author write the book.

Table of Contents

Have you ever opened up a book and were unsure of how to find what you were looking for? A good place to help you find what you're looking for is the table of contents. This includes information like chapter titles and what pages you can find specific chapters or sections. Table of contents are very common in reference books, but you'll also find them in other nonfiction and fiction books as well.

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