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Body Matter of a Book

by Ron Kurtus (11 April 2016)

The body matter of a book is also called the contents of the book. It sits between the front matter and back matter of the book.

The body matter or contents consist of parts, chapters, sections, and subsections.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.


Content material in larger books can be broken parts, which act as divisions within the book. Often a set of chapters on a specific topic are combined in a book part. For example:

Part 1

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3

Part 2

  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 5

Some fiction books may divide the story into parts.


Chapters in a book are main divisions within the book or within parts of the book. In nonfiction, they typically consist of a single subject or area of study. In fiction works, chapter usually divide the book into events in time or location.

Chapters are usually numbered. In nonfiction, they are included in the Table of Contents. Some fiction works also contain a Table of Contents, listing the chapters. This is especially true in novels of great length.


Chapters may be divided into sections, which are are usually separated by an extra space between sections. A section heading may be used for the next section.

In fiction books, sections often represent scenes, as in a drama or play. In written narrative such as fiction, sections are not usually numbered or named. Section breaks are used to signal various changes in a story, including changes in time, location, point-of-view character, mood, tone, emotion, and pace.

A document may also be considered to be divided into sections by its headings and subheadings, which may be used for a table of contents.


In some nonfiction books, sections and subsections can be numbered. Subsections are often written in lowercase Roman numerals.


The body matter or contents of a book sits between the front matter and back matter of the book.

The contents can be broken into parts, chapters within a part, sections within a chapter, and subsections within a section.

Make your design appealing

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


Book Design - Wikipedia

Parts of a Book - Dog Ear Publishing

An Unabridged List of the Parts of a Book - The Book Designer

Chapter (books) - Wikipedia

Section (typography) - Wikipedia

Publishing Resources


Top-rated books on Self-Publishing

Questions and comments

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Body Matter of a Book

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