Zine & Zine-making Glossary
Book block (also called a text block)
Pages of a book that have been sewn or glued together into a single unit, then trimmed around three edges to remove signature folds, but not yet cased into a cover.
An inscription placed at the end of a book or manuscript and giving details of its publication—e.g., the name of the printer and the date of printing, and sometimes other details such as the type of paper, the typeface used, brand of printing press, names of assistants, etc.
An outer surface nearly the size of the pages and attached to the spine by a hinge mechanism. Front and back covers are usually the same material as the spine,
forming a one piece protective “case” around the book. Many years ago, covers were carved from wood and attached to the spine with cloth or metal hinges. Modern covers are made of many materials–paper, plastic, or
fabric–though most are a cardboard core covered with paper, leather, or book cloth (buckram).
Blank sheets folded and numbered as a test of the page imposition of a book prior to printing. Bookbinders often supply a dummy to the printer to aid in layout and stripping during the prep process.
All of the copies of a book manufactured by a single printing and binding run. “First Edition” always designates the original publication, and are more popular with collectors.
The edge of book pages opposite the spine. This is the edge that is normally grasped when turning the pages. Also called fore edge.
The half of an end sheet that is loose and not glued down to the book cover.
Traditional usage: A sheet of paper folded once in the middle, making four pages of a book. Also may be called a signature. Common usage: A numbered page of a book or the actual number printed on the page. “Low folio” refers to the half of the folio in the front part of the book, or the half of the folio with the lowest numbers. “High folio” refers to the half of the folio in the back part of the book, or the half of the folio with the highest numbers. Occasionally used to describe a large book, 15 or more inches high, made with folded pages. From Latin folio, a leaf.
The bottom page edges or the bottom of the spine.
The exposed edge of the book block, opposite the spine.
The inside fold of a cover hinge where it meets the book block spine. Also the “valley” between two pages when a book is open that forms the inside page margins.
The top page edges or the top of the spine.
The arrangement of multiple printed pages on a large sheet of paper so that when folded, the pages will fall in numerical order. An eight-page signature imposition will have four pages on each side of the sheet with the
heads of the pages meeting in the center.
One side of a sheet of paper. Sheets x 2 = # pages in a book.
The side of the endsheet that is pasted down to the inside cover.
Perfect binding (also called adhesive binding) A pamphlet binding process using only adhesive, usually a hot-melt, to secure the pages into a wrap-around cover. Telephone books and paperbacks are typical of Perfect binding.
A right-hand page of a book or the front side of a leaf, on the other side of the verso.
Thread is sewn through all of a book’s pages about 1/8 inch from the binding edge of the pages. Side sewing is very secure, but books sewn in this fashion seldom lie flat when open.
Signature (often abbreviated sig and also called a section) A sheet of paper printed with four or more pages and folded one or more times to the approximate size of one page and in a manner which puts the pages in proper numbered order. The more common signature impositions are 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 pages, which are formed by folding the sheet in half one or more times. Less common are 12, 20, 24, and 36 page signatures, which require more complicated folding patterns. In some regions, signatures are identified by their lowest page number, so the second signature in a two section, 16 page book might be called “sig 5,” because it begins with page 5. In recent years, and in most regions, signatures are identified by their position in the book, so the example might also be called “sig 2.” The cover of the book is not considered a signature in any numbering scheme. From Latin signum, sign.
The bound edge of a book where the pages are sewn, glued, or otherwise fastened together. Spines are usually thin and flexible, allowing the book to be easily opened.
Highly decorated books have spines that have been “built up” into hubs and ornamentation. Also see rounding and
When you open the book, what you see is two pages side by side, or what we call a spread. When we design books, we can use lots of design elements to help readers navigate them, and many of these elements are based on the two-page spread.
The bottom of the book block.
A left-hand page of a book or the reverse side of a leaf, as opposed to the recto.
One individual book. Sometimes used to identify an individual book belonging to a set, such as volume one of four. In periodical literature, volume refers to all of the issues in a series of time, such as a year or a quarter. When periodicals are consolidated into a hard-bound book, typically all issues of the same volume number are bound together.