November 24, 2023 in 

In a book, the recto refers to the right-hand page, contrasting with the verso, which is the left-hand page. When you open a book, the recto of the first page is what you see as the front or cover.

For codex books, it’s common to find the opening words of a text printed on the recto of the first folio – the initial spread of two pages that greet you when opening a book.

The recto usually carries odd page numbers, while even numbers are for versos. This convention applies both in printing and pagination practices.

It’s worth noting that in printing terminology, “recto” and “verso” can also refer to the front and back sides of individual sheets of paper.

Each right-hand page encountered is a recto when reading an open book. The term “recto” stems from its Latin root meaning “right.”

Typically, titles appear on a book’s recto side while half-titles occupy its verso counterpart. As one reads through a text following these pages, subsequent pages alternate between rectos and versos.

Furthermore, outside of books themselves, “recto” may also describe one side (the front) of a sheet in codex format paper, whereas “verso” indicates its opposite (the back). In this context, it’s important to note that these terms denote physical leaf sides rather than logical sequences within reading.

Rectos serve crucial roles in books beyond just dividing them into sets of facing pages. Their presence supports spine stability and allows accessible, flat-lying reading experiences when opening a book. Additionally, covers often attach specifically to these right-hand pages, offering protection against damage and dirt accumulation.

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