Anatomy of the book: the basics

When describing a book, it can help to think of it as a small animal. I prefer to think of it as a wily, squat and scaly beast with sharp teeth and claws, but you might have other ideas. The top of a book is called the head; the bottom is called the tail. The spine is called—well, the spine. Sometimes the spine even has knobbly bits, just like a real animal spine! (More on that later). Then there are the two covers, front and back. When the covers are made of a hard, rigid board they are often referred to as the case, but it depends on the style of binding that has been used. The fore edge (or foredge) is the opposite side of the book to the spine, consisting of the leading edge of the text block and the two covers.

The head (the top bit)

The tail (the bottom bit)

The fore edge (the bit you open up to read the book)