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John, thanks for a good laugh at a favorite sacred cow. I love all the
explanations and suggestions, but (not to be a wet blanket), there IS a
reason for this apparently nonsensical insertion.
I don't know if it's still true, but printers and people who work in copy
shops for years had been trained to remove blank pages from manuscripts to
be reproduced -- on the theory that the person preparing the manuscript made
a mistake. This was especially true if no run sheet accompanied the
document, but sometimes even then the blank pages got pulled.
I've seen students agonizing about this very occurrence. They pour
everything into their projects, setting up right and left pages, only to
have the whole thing ruined by a zealous copy shop worker who pulled out the
blanks. I tell them either to put a note on the front of the manuscript
explicitly telling the copier to leave the blank pages in place or to put a
header/footer on the otherwise blank page.
As to whether you need the infamous blank page in the electronic world,
specifically pdf, it depends on whether the document supplier intends the
book to be read/used online or printed. If the latter, and if the right/left
pagination and format still applies, then those un-blanks better be there.
Now, back to creating other un-blank pages!
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