Glossary of Book Terms


Facing Page:
The page opposite to the page being referred to is called a facing page.


Certain book covers lose their intensity and fades when exposed to light. See darkening.


Glossary of Book Terms - f

Figured Cloth:
When a cloth binding is decorated with embossed patterns, it is said to be figured cloth.


First & Second Printing before Publication:
When a publisher promotes a book to an extent that he gets more orders prior to its release so that he needs to order for a second printing as the quantities of first printing will not be sufficient to meet the demands, it is said to be first and second printing before publication.


First edition:
When the book is printed for the first time, it is said to be the first edition of the book. It is generally used by book collectors and dealers.


First Separate Edition:
The first edition of a book has already appeared as a part of another book is called as first separate edition.  


First Thus:
A first thus is not a first edition of a book, but something that is new. It may be the first publication by another publisher, first publication in paperback form, new introduction either by the author or any other famous personality etc.  


First Trade Edition:
A first trade edition is one that is printed for commercial sales. It is different from a limited edition.


A flyleaf is a blank leaf that is present in the front free endpaper or at the end of the book that has no text to print. There may be more than one flyleaf in a book.


Fly Title:
It is a page that contains only the title of the book without any other information. It usually precedes the title page and it is also called as mock title, half title and bastard title etc.


Folding plates:
When a plate or an illustration is too big that it does not fit into the book, it needs to be folded neatly. It is called folding plates.


There are many meanings for this term. It may refer to the leaf numbered on the front or the numeral itself. It also refers to the folio sized book.


The very bottom of a book's spine.


The front edges of a text block which opposes the spine or bound edge.


Fore-Edge Painting:
The front page edges of a book are bent back such that it exposes greater area of a book. Water color paintings are applied to this surface and once the book is closed, the painting cannot be seen. The opposite of this may also be true. In some cases, the paintings are done such that it can be seen when the book is closed and not when opened.


Foxed, Foxing:
A foxed book has brown spots in its papers which are caused by the chemical reaction. Such spots are more common in 19th century books.


Free Endpaper:
(Also Front Free Endpaper ffep and Rear Free Endpaper rfep) The first or last movable paper of a book is called as free endpaper. It is also known as Front or Rear Fly; often blank. See End papers.


From English Sheets:
There are times when the pages of a book for an American/ Canadian edition that was once published in UK have been imported from England, they are termed as ‘From English Sheets’. There are times when the pages of a book for an UK edition that was once published in USA have been imported from USA; they are termed as ‘From American Sheets’.


Frontis, Frontispiece:
An illustration that is present in the beginning of a book, usually facing the title page of the book.


Front Matter:
The pages preceding the text of a book, in the following order:

  • Bastard title or fly title
  • Frontispiece
  • Title page
  • Copyright page
  • Dedication
  • Preface or forward
  • Table of contents
  • List of illustrations
  • Introduction
  • Acknowledgments
  • Half-title