It is customary to start with a blank page, a half-title page, or both, before any other content.
A half-title page contains only the title of the book, omitting the author and publisher as they appear on the full title page.
A bit of history: the blank pages before any printed content have become a convention of book design because traditional book printing is done on large sheets of paper, about 30 x 40 inches. Each sheet holds 12, 16, or 24 actual pages, which means the book has to contain a multiple of 12, 16, or 24 pages. Usually the book design does not work out to perfectly fill the number of pages needed, so extra blanks are placed just after the front cover and just before the back cover.
The title page and reverse title page are necessary for every book. All other elements of the frontmatter are used only if they are relevant to your book.
The title page should contain:
If relevant, the title page should acknowledge other major contributors to the book, using a statement below the author’s name such as:
The reverse title page, sometimes called the copyright page, is a left-hand page because it continues the information on the title page.
The items listed here are not a legal requirement, but the reverse title page is where people will expect to find information such as:
Published by the Michigan State University Libraries, 366 West Circle Drive, East Lansing, MI 48824. Website: lib.msu.edu/publications/
The cookbook reprinted here is in the public domain. Introductory essay © 2014 by Wolfgang Puck.
Good Things to Eat was first published in 1911.
Printed in the United States of America, on acid-free, SFI-certified paper (Sustainable Forestry Initiative, www.sfiprogram.org)
A dedication page is completely optional, but if you include one, it should appear immediately after the reverse title page.
After the title page and reverse title page, the next most common element of frontmatter is the table of contents. Every book should have a table of contents unless the chapters have no titles.
The table of contents comes immediately after the dedication, if used, or the reverse title page. It lists everything that follows. The half-title page (if used), title page, reverse title page, and dedication (if used) are not listed on the Contents page.
After the contents page are all the other sections preceding the main body of the book. Your book may have some or none of these sections. It’s a rare book that needs every single one of them.