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Back Matter of a Book

by Ron Kurtus (8 November 2015)

The back matter of a book consists of material that follows the content of the book. Most fiction books have a minimum of back matter, while nonfiction can include a number of items. Besides the main items in a nonfiction, other items can be included.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Fiction back matter

Items in the back matter of a fiction work can include an epilogue, afterword, and author ads.


An epilogue is a piece of writing toward the end of the book that is usually used to bring closure to the story.


An afterword is sometimes used to describe a time that is well after the time-frame of the main story. Any additional information for the reader to know after having read the book is in the afterword.

For example, an afterward could describe what happened a time well after the time frame of the main story.

Author ads

Fiction books may have pages that look like ads describing other books by the same author or the same publisher, sometimes with ordering information.

Non-fiction back matter

Non-fiction back matter usually includes a summary or conclusion, bibliography and index. Sometimes it may also include a postscript, appendix or addendum and glossary. They are listed below in the order usually seen in the book.

Summary or conclusion

A summary or conclusion gives a final overview of the material or ideas and perhaps draws conclusions to arguments or premises.

Appendix or addendum

An appendix or addendum is a supplemental addition to a given main work. It may correct errors, explain inconsistencies or otherwise detail or update the information found in the main work.

The appendix may list recommended books, websites, organizations, or other resources relating to the book topic.

If you have more than one appendix, each should be lettered and titled. Appendices should be typed in the same manner as the text body.


The glossary consists of a set of definitions of words of importance to the work. They are normally alphabetized.


The bibliography cites other books or authors when their material is used in the book.


An index is an alphabetical list of significant terms found in the text along with the pages upon which they appear An index is helpful to someone seeking specific information in the book.

Bookstore browsers often consult the index of a book first to determine whether it covers the topics that interest them. If the index directs the reader quickly to his or her desired topic, the book is deemed useful. If the index is not helpful, the book often is passed over for another. Thus the index can be an important sales feature.


A colophon is a brief description at the end of a book that describes production notes relevant to the edition and may include a printer's mark or logotype. It may also credit the book’s designer and other persons or companies involved in its physical production.

Other items included

Some books include other items.


The postscript is anything added as an addition or afterthought to the main body of the work.


Endnotes come after any appendices, and before the bibliography or list of references. The notes are typically divided by chapter to make them easier to locate.

When footnotes are consolidated at the end of a chapter or at the end of the book, they are called endnotes.

List of Contributors

A work by many authors may require a list of contributors, which should appear immediately before the index, although it is sometimes moved to the front matter.

Contributor’s names should be listed alphabetically by last name, but appear in the form “First Name Last Name.” Information about each contributor may include brief biographical notes, academic affiliations, or previous publications.

About the Author

About the Author is a a sentence, paragraph or even a page about the yourself as author. You can discuss your credentials and background. A page about the author that emphasizes your qualifications as an expert in the subject will lend credibility to your book. This page should be written in the third person (otherwise, it will sound pompous).


A notice from the publisher of an error in the book, usually caused in the production process.

Reader-response Form

Could be an actual page bound into the book or it may be a separate page or postcard slipped into the book that asks the reader to respond with comments or questions about the book


The back matter of a book consists of material that follows the content of the book. Most fiction books have a minimum of back matter, while nonfiction can include a number of items. Besides the main items in a nonfiction, other items can be included.

Study other books

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


End of the Book Components - Desktop Publishing

What is Back Matter? -

Your Book's Back Matter: What You Need to Know - CreateSpace

Book design - Wikipedia

Publishing Resources


Top-rated books on Self-Publishing

Questions and comments

Do you have any questions, comments, or opinions on this subject? If so, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.


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