Name of blank pages
November 29, 2008 1:06 AM   Subscribe

Do the blank pages at the beginning and end of a book have a name?
posted by ryanissuper to Writing & Language (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Endpapers.
posted by obliquicity at 1:13 AM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've also heard them referred to as flyleaves.
posted by macguffin at 1:18 AM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Endpapers may not be technically correct, as endpapers include the pages glued to the inside front and back covers.
posted by mediareport at 6:11 AM on November 29, 2008

...and are often not blank.
posted by mediareport at 6:12 AM on November 29, 2008

Flyleaf is correct. From Words into Type:

flyleaf A blank leaf, or page, at the front or back of a book, not to be confused with endpapers.

Note: It's not a good idea to hand out "Best answer" marks indiscriminately, especially to answers that contradict each other. This is not a personal-growth question, it's a factual one that has a correct answer.
posted by languagehat at 7:33 AM on November 29, 2008 [10 favorites]

endpapers are the pages that are glued to the inside cover of the book.
posted by violetk at 10:40 AM on November 29, 2008

when I worked in publishing we always just called them blanks
posted by libraryhead at 10:43 AM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

it's a factual one that has a correct answer.

If you're going to get picky about it, it would have been more helpful had you explained the difference between the flyleaf and the endpapers. Since there is evidently some more specifics to the issue, is it correct to also refer to the excess sheets in the last signature that don't have any printing on them as flyleaves? In other words, endpapers are glued in and not part of a signature; flyleaves are any unprinted pages in a signature? Just trying to clarify the difference.
posted by kiltedtaco at 12:28 PM on November 29, 2008

Well, to be strictly, pedantically, bibliographically accurate .. the blank leaf glued to the inside cover is called the 'pastedown', the blank leaf facing the pastedown is called the 'free endpaper' (the one at the front is the 'front free endpaper', often abbreviated to 'ffep'), the pastedown and free endpaper together are called the 'endpapers', any other blank leaves are called the 'flyleaves', and the whole lot together are called 'blanks'. In practice, however, the term 'flyleaves' is usually used to refer to any or all blank leaves.

John Carter's ABC for Book Collectors is a helpful guide to bibliographical terminology which can often help to answer questions like this. It was originally designed for antiquarian booksellers and collectors, but has come to be used more widely. You can download it for free as a pdf.
posted by verstegan at 1:31 PM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Invaluable for this discussion is the freely available 8th edition (2004) of Carter and Barker's ABC for Book Collectors. Download, read, and enjoy.

You would discover, for instance, that endpapers are:
With rare exceptions, endpapers are not part of the book as printed. They are the double leaves added at front and back by the binder, the outer leaf of each being pasted to the inner surface of the cover (known as the paste-down), the inner leaves (or free endpapers) forming the first and last of the volume when bound or cased.
And, for the flyleaf:
Strictly speaking, this term means a binder’s blankadditional to, and following, the free front endpaperor preceding the rear. It is, however, often used of the free front endpaper itself.
ABC for Book Collectors is not only a definitive source, but is entertaining, too. That it's free from the publisher? Thank you, Mr. Internets.
posted by terceiro at 1:37 PM on November 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

Note to self: there's a reason for the "Preview" button at the bottom.
posted by terceiro at 1:39 PM on November 29, 2008

The differences between flyleaf and endpaper seems to have been adequately covered, so I'll just mention that signatures (for folks reading this thread who have no idea what we're talking about) are the sheets of book folded and ready to be bound. Sigs are usually 32 pages (though in art book publishing, which is where I work, we generally use 16-page sigs, as we use heavier paper stock). To get an idea of what I mean, look at the top edge of a book (it's easiest to see on a hardback book) and you can see the pages gathered into small booklet-like groups. Those are the signatures.
posted by scody at 1:44 PM on November 29, 2008

Just to add to the excellent answers by verstegan and terceiro and satisfy kiltedtaco's curiosity, those blank pages are called "blanks." And, in John Carter's words,
In a leather-bound book it is necessary to distinguish these printer’s
(sometimes signalised by cataloguers as ‘blank and genuine’)
from any extra leaves which the binder may have used in the front or
back – conveniently called binder’s blanks.
posted by languagehat at 1:50 PM on November 29, 2008

Blank pages are used to fill signatures. Flyleaves and endpapers are something completely different, imho.
posted by cass at 9:14 AM on December 1, 2008

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