A basic knowledge of the parts of a book and how a book is put together can help the designer envision the finished product. The boards, spine, and cover material make up the case which is created separate from the text block and attached to it. A book jacket or slipcase is also created separate from the case and text block. The designer may be directly involved in the design of some parts, such as the book jacket, slipcase, paperback covers, and cover art.
The material, such as millboard, that provides stiffness or rigidity for hardcover books. The boards are usually covered with cloth or leather.
The outside of a book which wraps around (with the spine) the text block and protects the pages is the cover. Hardcover books are those bound in cloth or leather over boards. Softcover or paperback books have covers without boards usually made of heavy paper or other flexible material.
The book title, author, illustration, and other information may appear on the front cover.
Hard cover books generally have blank back covers or perhaps a logo from the publishing company. Paperbacks and book jackets often carry book descriptions, promotional blurbs, excerpts, quotes by reviewers, barcode, ISBN, photo of author, etc.
Hinge or Joint
The indented line along the front and back covers of a book which bends as the cover is opened and closed.
- Front Cover
The spine is the outer portion of a book that typically shows when a book is placed on a bookshelf. It's the part of the binding that conceals the bound edges of the text block and connects the front and back covers. The book title, author, library call number, publishing company and logo may be imprinted, embossed, or attached to the spine.
Crash or Mull or Super
The crash is the coarse, loosely woven cloth often used to line the spines of the book. Layers of crash and glue form the spine lining used to stiffen and reinforce the binding edge of the text block. Not all types of binding use a cloth spine lining.
- Crash or Mull or Super
Endsheet or Endpaper or Endleaf
Thicker than the other pages of the book, half of the endsheet is affixed to the inside front and back cover with the other half forming the first or last page in the book. In some books the endsheets may be a decorative print or contrasting color from the rest of the book pages. In some books the endsheet maybe printed with artwork, diagrams, maps, or other illustrations connected to the subject of the book.
The half of the front or back endsheet not glued to the cover is the flyleaf or fly leaf.
The half of the front or back endsheet glued to the front and back covers is the paste down.
The unbound edge of the book's pages, opposite the spine. Older books and special editions may have gilded (gold) or painted fore-edges. When present, tabs or a thumb index are affixed to the fore-edge.
The binding edge is the edge of the leaves and signatures that are attached to each other. They may glued together with a strip of cloth or paper, or in paperback binding the edges may be glued directly to the spine and cover.
Head and Headcap
The top edge of the boards, spine, and text block when a book is upright on a shelf is the head. The headcap is the upper portion of the spine.
Tail and Tailcap
The bottom edge of the boards, spine, and text block that the book rests on when it is sitting upright on a shelf is the tail. The tailcap is the lower portion of the spine.
Book Jacket (Dust Jacket)
Hard cover and some soft cover books have a separate paper wrapper that covers the book and protects the cover. The book jacket may mimic the cover or include additional information including title, author, illustrations, promotional blurbs. A synopsis of the book contents and author's biography typically appear on the book jacket flaps - the end papers that wrap around to the inside covers.
A cardboard box designed to hold, protect, and display one or more volumes (such as a book series) is a slipcase. The slipcase is open at the front so that only the book spines show.
Parts of a Book > Case Components and Book Binding