Re: New Chapter On Right/Leave Left Page Blank -Reply

Subject: Re: New Chapter On Right/Leave Left Page Blank -Reply
From: Dick Margulis <ampersandvirgule -at- WORLDNET -dot- ATT -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 18:02:10 -0400


This is a book design issue, and among book designers there are indeed
conventions. In some circumstances it is appropriate to start all
chapters recto. In other circumstances it is permissible to start
chapters recto or verso.

Let's remember that not every book a list member produces is a technical
manual, and not all books are designed for letter-size or A4 pages.

That said, here are the principle considerations:

If you are designing a book that is part of a series, follow the
practice used in the preceding books in the series.

If you are designing a book under the direction of a publisher, and if
the publisher has a general policy, follow that policy.

Beyond that . . .

Chapter one should start recto. (The text might start verso after a
chapter divider page, but that divider page is recto.) I'm sure someone
will find a drugstore paperback in which chapter one starts verso after
a bastard-title, but let's not hold that up as an example of fine book
design, shall we?)

If your design anchors all specifications at the left edge of the page
(perhaps you have your chapter number flush left and your chapter title
indented 3 picas from the left, for example), then you will probably do
better with all chapters starting recto.

On the other hand, if you anchor your specifications to the outside
margin (e.g., chapter number flush outside, chapter title indented 3
picas from the outside), then there is no _aesthetic_ reason not to
start a chapter on the left. There may, however, be _practical_ reasons.

In any circumstance in which chapters are revised independently
(separate chapter authors?) or are offprinted separately (scholarly
journals?), it is much more convenient to have chapters or articles
start recto. This especially applies to looseleaf books for which
revision chapters are sent out.

It is conventional in engineering doc (and, I believe, required in
government jobs) to include a slug that indicates when a page is
intentionally left blank. Don't fight it if your audience expects it.

So, in conclusion, it depends. It depends on the circumstance. It
depends on the needs and expectations of your audience. It depends on
some internal design considerations. There is no single answer that can
be applied in all situations. But you knew that already ;-)


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