What is a Book Title Page and Half Title Page?

book title pageProbably the most basic aspect of the front matter is the book title page and the half title. This is one of the aspects of front matter that is in every book, no matter the type or genre. It’s there in poetry collections, memoirs, biographies, historical books, novels, comics, children’s books, short story collections, etc. And though it may seem simple, it’s definitely necessary to start off a book.

What is a Half Title Page in a Book?

The book’s half title page comes before the full title page in a book, and it is usually the very first page in a book. Sometimes books opt out of the half title, and choose instead to have a blank sheet of paper in the very beginning. Others, though, use a half title page.

The half title only features the title. It doesn’t list the author, publisher, or any subtitles, since they’ll appear on the full title.

Half Title Page Example

book half title page

The half title has an interesting history that dates back to the very beginning of publishing. According to Books Tell You Why,  it was a way to recognize a book on the shelves, from before books were shelved with their spines facing out. Once readers started organizing books with the spine facing outward, they’d cut out the half title and paste it onto the spine.

Why is a Book Title Page Important?

It may just seem like a reiteration of the cover and half title page, but the book title page actually marks the official start of the front matter and the book. The page should be clean, elegant, and straightforward. The book title page should include:

  • Title of the Book
  • Subtitle of the Book (if there is on)
  • Author Name
  • Publishing Company

Other information that may be on the book title page (if applicable) includes editor, translator, edition, illustrator, series number, and year of publication.

It’s important to provide this information to the reader, and it’s definitely important as a way to recognize collaborators on the project (illustrators, photographers, editors, etc.).

Book Title Page Example

While there are many different layouts that publishers use for the title page of a book, below is a simple book title page example.

book title page

What specifically is listed on the title page will depend on the type of book written and if it’s a part of a series. The constant features are the title, author name, and publisher information.

At the very minimum every book should have a title page. Not every book has a half title page. The nice thing about self-publishing is that you get to decide if you want to include a half title page or not.

If you include a half title page, keep in mind that it’s the very first page of the book. The backside of the half page is normally blank, and then the book’s title page follows. You want to make sure that these title pages always start on a right hand page. Quite a few publishing companies will include the copyright page on the backside of the title page as well.

If you are unsure how to format the title pages, pick up a few books you have laying around, find a style that you like, and mimic that style.

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