What are headers and footers in book design?

In book design, the header and footer of a page are the space at the top and bottom of the page that is not covered by the main text. They typically contain information like the page number, book title, chapter title, and author name.

In novel-like books (novels, novellas, novelettes, short-story collections), most pages will show some of the main text of the story in a central column. The space above this is known as the header, and the space below this is known as the footer.

By convention, the header and footer contain information such as the page number, the book title, the chapter title, and the author name. If the book is split into parts, they might include the part title. If the book is a collection of works by many authors, the author name may vary from section to section.

The footer often contains the page number – which might be centre-aligned or aligned to the outer-side of the page. Or sometimes it contains nothing, and the page number is placed in the header, on the outer-side (which can make it easy to see when flicking through the pages of the book quickly).

The header is often different for the left-hand and right-hand pages. Often the left-hand page header will contain the book title or chapter title, and the right-hand page header will contain the chapter title (if not already used on the left) or the author name. Which convention you use is up to you. Find out more here.

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