A half title is a single leaf, usually at the front of a book, bearing the book’s title, but not the author’s name or other identifying information. The half title is often the first page that a reader will encounter, and it is not uncommon for the half title to be used on its own as a marketing tool, particularly when the book’s author is already well-known.
The half title may also contain the book’s subtitle, if there is one, as well as the volume number if the book is part of a multi-volume work. In some cases, the half title will also bear the name of the book’s illustrator or translator, if either is notable.
The half title is typically followed by the book’s frontispiece, if there is one, and then the title page, which contains all of the book’s identifying information, including the author’s name, the title, the subtitle (if any), the publisher’s name, and the copyright information.
The purpose of the half title is twofold. First, it allows the reader to quickly and easily identify what the book is about and who wrote it. Second, it helps to create a sense of anticipation for the reader by whetting their appetite for the contents of the book.
In terms of design, the half title usually has very simple and clean text. This is because the main focus should be on the book’s title itself. The title should be immediately eye-catching and easy to read. The author’s name is often placed below the title, sometimes in a smaller font size.
The half title page is just one of the many pages that make up the front matter of a book. The front matter also includes the book’s title page, copyright page, dedication, and table of contents. Together, these pages give the reader essential information about the book and prepare them for the journey ahead.