Author Topic: Print books - Must Chapters start on an even page?  (Read 252 times)

notthatamanda

Print books - Must Chapters start on an even page?
« on: June 10, 2019, 11:32:33 PM »
I thought it had always been done that way, but I just finished the fourth Cormoran Strike (Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling) book and that book started the chapters on the next page, regardless odds or evens.  Now that is a very long book, so maybe that is an exception, but it is okay to start chapters on even pages now?  I'd like to, to reduce costs and save paper.  Thoughts?
 

LilyBLily

Re: Print books - Must Chapters start on an even page?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2019, 11:58:38 PM »
Yes, more and more traditionally published books are starting chapters on verso ("even") pages. I would not start a book that way, that's really unprofessional looking, but between chapters it's okay.

But seriously, how much paper do you think you will save? And will the purchasers of a print book care? They want the print book experience, and some touches of luxury are implied in same. We're none of us printing mass market paperbacks; we're doing trade paperbacks or even hardcovers, and those are usually better designed and designed with more flourishes: drop caps, fancy type for chapter headings, interesting symbols for scene breaks, and so on.
 
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RPatton

Re: Print books - Must Chapters start on an even page?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2019, 12:14:08 AM »
It doesn't matter. Despite self-publishers touting this as a die-hard rule. It is not. And I think you mean odd pages (or recto or right side pages). The only chapter opener that absolutely must fall on an odd page is the first chapter. However, there are even exceptions to that, but none you would likely come across.

So, I basically did a bunch of research on this. It is a style preference that is determined by the series, brand, author, publisher, what have you. There are only conventions in print formatting and when conventions don't work, ignore them. It's more important you understand the reason of the convention then following the convention.

In most cases where chapters start on both sides of the page, there are clear signals letting the reader know she is in a new chapter. If the chapter opener doesn't have clear signals, one signal can be a right side page for chapter starts. If you're interested in lowering your page count, I recommend doing two things, drop your font size by half a point (adjust leading as necessary) and start chapters on both sides of the page. More often than not, you'll loose at least 15 pages, if not more (depending on your page count and other settings).

I might be reading between the lines here, and completely misreading, are you wanting to lower your book's page count? If so, there are bunch of things you can do (including starting chapters on both sides of the page) without sacrificing the readability, legibility, and comfortable margins.
 
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notthatamanda

Re: Print books - Must Chapters start on an even page?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2019, 12:23:15 AM »
Thank you guys.  The book I just read started had a quote centered under "Chapter X" so it was very obvious that they were doing it.
Having said that, I didn't actually notice until I was almost done with the book.
I would only save a couple of pages per book.  It would be nice to sell a million books, but not likely.
I just try to reduce my impact on the environment when I can.   I just figured if the right side page is not an absolute necessity anymore I could do that.
 

Edward M. Grant

Re: Print books - Must Chapters start on an even page?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 02:48:34 AM »
But seriously, how much paper do you think you will save?

When you have 80 chapters, it saves about 40 pages, or maybe 10% of the book. That can cut a dollar or two from the price of a PoD book. If you have eight really long chapters, you probably don't care.

I used to always start on odd pages, but it left so much blank space that I went and looked at a bunch of books on my bookshelf and realized that far more books just start a chapter on the next available page than leave one blank. Which is odd, because I'd always thought that books always started a chapter on an odd page.
 
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RPatton

Re: Print books - Must Chapters start on an even page?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2019, 04:20:05 AM »
But seriously, how much paper do you think you will save?

When you have 80 chapters, it saves about 40 pages, or maybe 10% of the book. That can cut a dollar or two from the price of a PoD book. If you have eight really long chapters, you probably don't care.

I used to always start on odd pages, but it left so much blank space that I went and looked at a bunch of books on my bookshelf and realized that far more books just start a chapter on the next available page than leave one blank. Which is odd, because I'd always thought that books always started a chapter on an odd page.

So I went a step further and pulled books published in the 40s and 50s. Guess what? Most started chapters on both pages. The times they only started on the recto page was usually when an engraving or illustration was on the facing page. I even found a few books from the 30s and one from 1925 and those all had chapters starting on both sides of the page. They also had generous leading and margins for days, so they weren't worried about conserving pages/space.

I've seen the "you have to start chapters on odd (recto) pages" rule only in writer communities. If you visit typography communities, you might find a handful of references to only starting a chapter on the recto, but all tie back to house style guides and not general conventions.
 
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Vijaya

Re: Print books - Must Chapters start on an even page?
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2019, 01:09:55 AM »
I use the next page to start a new chapter, odd or even. But I've seen several books where the new chapter always begins on the right side (odd page). It's a style preference. I notice more nonfiction in that format and also thin books.

Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces, primarily for children
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