When you open a book anywhere, you’ll see two pages: a left-hand page and a right-hand page, which face each other. These two pages together are called a spread.
Each section of your book should start on a right-hand page. The title page is always a right-hand page, the table of contents begins on a right-hand page, chapter 1 begins on a right-hand page, and so on.
Book designers call these two pages by the Latin terms “recto” for the right-hand page and “verso” for the reverse or left-hand page. This usage may help you remember that each new section always starts on the recto or right-hand page, not on the ‘reverse’.
The guidelines just described are for books in languages that, like English, read from left to right. Book design for languages that read right to left, such as Hebrew and Arabic, is beyond the scope of this guide.
Because new sections of a book always start on a right-hand page, that’s where the page numbering starts too.
Page 1 is normally the first page of the first chapter. The preceding pages (the frontmatter) should use Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, etc.) although they can be left unpaged if the frontmatter is very brief.
The odd-even rule applies within the frontmatter too. Page vii is an odd number (7) so it should be a right-hand page. Page xxiv is an even number (24) so it should be a left-hand page.
Running heads are the short titles at the top of most pages of your book. Occasionally, a designer will set them at the bottom of the page, in which case they are running feet.
Running heads are not used on display pages:
Running heads are used on the second and following page of any section of your book that runs two or more pages.
The running head can incorporate the page number. Or, the page number can be set at the bottom of the page by itself.
The content of the running heads depends on the structure of your book. See examples below.
Example 1: A book divided into parts, with parts divided into chapters
|Verso (title of part 1)||Recto (title of part 1, chapter 1)|
|Lincoln's Early Life||Born on the Frontier|
Example 2: A book divided into chapters only
|Running head on verso (chapter title)||Running head on recto (chapter title)|
|Lincoln in Congress||Lincoln in Congress|
Example 3: A book with chapters written by different authors:
|Running head on verso (chapter author)||Running head on recto (chapter title)|
|William H. Beckwith||Lincoln in Congress|
Example 4: Running heads in frontmatter and backmatter. If your introductory material or appendixes are long enough to need running heads, use the same head on both sides of the spread:
|Running head on verso||Running head on recto|
|Backmatter||Appendix: Lincoln Family Tree||Appendix: Lincoln Family Tree|