Avoid looking stupid when self publishing: make sure you number your pages correctly!

An area of confusion we find amongst people who come to us for book printing concerns the correct way to number pages, particularly at the beginning of the book. This is in addition to putting the various parts of a book in the correct order.

The following advice is taken from the “Style manual: for authors, editors and printers” (paperback) ISBN: 978 0 7016 3648 7, the current edition of the “bible” for anyone who does a lot of writing and wants to convey a professional image.

As I said in part one of this blog (on the correct order for the various parts of a book — where should be introduction, preface, contents, foreword, list of illustrations etc. go — “we strongly recommend that anyone self publishing a book should adhere to these conventions. There is nothing like making stupid mistakes in areas such as this to destroy your credibility with a knowledgable reader.”

Here is the correct way to number pages.

Page numbering should start on the Title Page and should be page one in Roman numerals (i). However the page number IS NOT SHOWN.

The page number for the reverse of the title page (ii) is also NOT SHOWN.

Page three (iii) the Foreword is the first page that is shown.

Roman numerals should be used all the way up to the Introduction, and are shown on all printed pages beginning at the Foreword, but NOT on blank pages

Numbering restarts at 1 (normal Arabic numerals) for the first page of the text and continues on for the rest of the book.

Numbers should not be shown on blank pages and are sometimes not shown for the first page of a new chapter.

Numbering should be on the outside of the page — on the left of left hand pages, and on the right of right hand pages.

Right hand pages should always be odd numbered.

For details of the correct order of the various parts of a book (introduction, preface, contents, foreword, list of illustrations etc.), see my earlier blog (click here).

For a vast treasure trove of hints and tips for book preparation, see our “How to prepare your files” section here.