Anatomy of a Book

A peek at some of the lingo often heard inside a publishing house.

1. Endpapers

The two sheets of paper that live at the beginning and the end of a book. They often have patterns or colors that enhance the design.

2. Casewrap

If a hardcover book has a jacket, whatever is underneath is considered the casewrap. Modern, visual books use laminated paper as a casewrap, allowing designers to print patterns, colors, and images.

3. Book Block

The main text or body of the book after all the signatures have been collated or gathered.

4. Gutter

The blank space or inner margin that separates printing area from the binding.

5. Headband

Small decorative strip of textile used at the top and bottom of a casebound book to decoratively fill the gap between the spine and cover.

6. Backbone

The back of a bound book connecting the front and back covers—also known as the spine.

Additional book vocabulary:


An early “fake” version of a book or format, which is either made by the printer or pasted up in-house. They’re typically used to help represent titles for upcoming seasons while the finished products are still in production. These are usually partially printed, so they may not have every page, but they offer a good visual idea of the finished product.


Our internal word for something that invites the recipient to interact with the product — things like guided journals, games, pencils, paper dolls, and temporary tattoos.


Press sheets printed before any binding happens to check for the consistency and accuracy of the images and color.

Saddle Stitch

A binding method used to fasten booklets by stitching through the middle fold of sheets.


Stands for Fold & Gather. It’s an unbound copy of a book, and it is typically created for illustrated children’s books.

To learn more about the nuts and bolts (or backbones and headbands) of the publishing business, read about how to submit your children’s book, and what an art book editor looks for in her projects.

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