The Anatomy of a Book

As a relative newbie to the publishing industry, I’m constantly picking up the industry jargon. It’s a part of every industry, and publishing has some crackers. Reading through contracts is an excellent place to start learning the lingo. You can learn about “3/5ths prevailing royalties on deep discounts” and “volume form editions.” On the sales and marketing side, the list of important terms to know include “shelf talkers” (the little card things that sit on bookshelves to draw your attention to books) and “POS” (Point Of Sale = fun things we make for booksellers to put in their bookshops). Of course there are also “proofs” and “blads,” which are different printed editions of books which are printed before the final editions are made.

But it wasn’t until Tristan Hanks, our production controller, came to me with a request that I realized there was a whole bucket of terms I had completely missed. Tristan needed me to take some pictures of the “head and tail bands” of a book. “The what?” I asked. “The head and tail bands,” he replied. “These things,” he said, pointing to the fuzzy pieces of fabric at the top of the hardback book.


And then it hit me — I have no idea what to call most of the physical parts of a book. Sure I knew a bit about endpages (those are the extra pages before and after the actual book text), but that’s it! And I figure, if I don’t know, there must be other people who don’t know. So I (nicely) muscled Tristan into doing a few videos, and explaining the anatomy of a physical book. (Forgive me my spotty camera work here, our camera doesn’t have a steady zoom)

Video #1 covers the basics:

And this video delves a little more into things we can do to our books to make them look pretty:

I hope that was fun! If you have any questions for Tristan about books, finishes, or anything related to production, feel free to post them below.


One response to “The Anatomy of a Book

  1. I love this post – I never even thought about the relevant parts of a book, really interesting!!!

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