Internal Structure of a Book
by Ron Kurtus (revised 30 May 2016)
In most cases, the internal structure of a book is laid out in a specific sequence. In self-publishing, it is important to follow the standard, accepted structure for your book.
The major divisions of a book are the front matter, body matter and back matter. The front matter usually consists of half title, title, copyright and dedication pages, as well as the table of contents, forward, preface, introduction and prologue. The body consists of parts, chapters and sections. The back matter has different items for fiction and non-fiction.
Questions you may have include:
- What is in the front matter?
- What is in the body matter?
- What does the back matter consist of?
This lesson will answer those questions.
The front matter of a book typically consists of number of subdivisions, which may be single pages or a series of pages. Fiction and nonfiction front matter are usually similar. Some material may be excluded in e-books.
The following front matter pages are required:
- Title, author, and publisher page
- Copyright and ISBN information page
- Table of contents and list of illustrations
The following front matter pages are optional:
- Half-title page
- Other books by author page
(See Front Matter of a Book for more information.)
Although the body matter is the largest division of a book, it also has the simplest structure. A book can be divided into parts, chapters, sections and often sub-sections.
The part of a book consists of related chapters. The designation of the part may be a single page or several pages. Often the page lists the chapters to follow. Parts are usually numbered.
Chapters are at least several pages long and can be quite long. They consist of material on a single topic. In fiction, a chapter may be one event or one point of view in the action.
Each chapter can be divided into sections.
Sections are subdivisions of chapters. Each section can even be divided into subsections.
The back matter is usually different in fiction as compared to non-fiction.
(See Back Matter of a Book for more information.)
Fiction back matter
Items in the back matter of a fiction work include:
- Author's ads
Non-fiction back matter
Non-fiction back matter can include a number of items. They are listed below in the order seen in the book.
- Summary or conclusion
- Appendix or addendum
The structure of a book consists of the front matter, body matter and back matter. The front matter usually consists of half title, title, copyright and dedication pages, as well as the table of contents, forward, preface, introduction and prologue. The body consists of parts, chapters and sections. The back matter has different items for fiction and non-fiction.
Be logical in your approach
Resources and references
Book design - Wikipedia
Self-Publishing Basics: An Unabridged List of the Parts of a Book - TheBookDesigner.com
Questions and comments
Do you have any questions, comments, or opinions on this subject? If so, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.
Click on a button to bookmark or share this page through Twitter, Facebook, email, or other services:
Students and researchers
The Web address of this page is:
Please include it as a link on your website or as a reference in your report, document, or thesis.
Where are you now?
Internal Structure of a Book