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
Christina Boggs

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

Expert Contributor
Kaitlyn Danahy

Kate has a bachelor's degree in literature & creative writing from Gordon College. She taught high school literature in India and tutored in the US.

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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Additional Activities

A Book Sandwich

In this activity, you will be creating your own book by adapting a movie into a book format. You will create the front and ending matter for this book (not the body matter).

Front Matter

To start, pick your favorite movie.

Half Title, Frontispiece, and Title Page:

Type the name of the movie halfway down the page. For the frontispiece, draw your favorite character or scene from the movie. For the title page, list the name of the movie, the film's screenplay writer (keep in mind some movies will have more than one writer), and the film's distribution company. For example, if you chose Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the writer would be Steve Kloves, and the distribution company would be Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

Dedication and Acknowledgements:

This is where you'll get creative. Think of someone you want to see your favorite movie, and dedicate it to them. For example, if you wanted to dedicate it to your little sister, you could write: For my baby sister. I hope you like enjoy it as much as I do! (dedications are often short).

For acknowledgements, think of the first time you saw the movie. Was it in a theater? Was it at home? Who were you with? Acknowledge the actors and directors, and the people who helped you see it the first time.

Foreword and Preface:

In the foreword, write about why you think the story is important and what you like about it. Keep it to 300 words or less (this is significantly shorter than a normal foreword). The preface is generally written by the writer. Find an interview with the writer (or the director, if there are no interviews available with the writer) and transcribe it. You need to cite your source in the bibliography.

End Matter:


Define at least three important (or unfamiliar) terms used in the film. For example, for Harry Potter, you can define terms such as "muggles" or "quidditch."


Describe at least five characters and at what point in the movie they first show up. For example, you might use "Voldemort" and list the first time he appears in the story.


In MLA format, cite the film along with any websites or articles you used to find the information to create this book.

Lastly, watch the movie with the person you dedicated it to!

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