Front matter, Back matter & ISBNs

Click here to display the Table of Contents

The front matter of a novel usually includes a title page, a copyright page, and a dedication page. It may also include a Table of Contents.

The back matter can include a page about the author, an acknowledgement page, excerpts [from the next book in the series, if applicable], and a page listing other books by the author.

You are free to design these before-and-after pages as you wish, but it’s usually a good idea to keep the formatting consistent.

The Title Page

The Title Page usually consists of the title of the book, the sub-title if appropriate, and the name of the author.

The  Copyright Page

The next page is the Copyright page:

In the example shown above, you can see a series of numbers near the bottom of the page. This is where the ISBN of your book goes.


ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and refers to the unique, 13 digit number that identifies each published book worldwide. You can buy an ISBN yourself, or you can accept a free ISBN from KDP.

If you decide to purchase your own ISBN, you can find the contact details of the ISBN agency in your country at the following web address:

Go to the website and hover the mouse over ‘National ISBN Agencies’. A drop down list will appear.

Click ‘Find an agency’ as shown below:

You should now be looking at the ‘Find an agency’ screen. Click the small down arrow opposite ‘Select an option’ to display a list of countries. You can now scroll through the list until you find your country, or you can type the country name in the search box:

Clicking on a country name will display the contact information for the ISBN agency in that country.

Note: for a step-by-step guide to buying an ISBN in Australia, see PART 3, for Australian Self-Publishers.

The following table compares free versus private ISBNs:

Academic InstitutionsNoNo
Amazon EU and UKYesYes
ImprintKDPOwn Name

The cost of ISBNs varies considerably from country to country. In Canada, private ISBNs are free, in Australia, buying a single ISBN can be quite expensive. Nevertheless, cost is not the only factor governing the choice between free and private ISBNs – Portability, Imprint and Distribution are equally important.


KDP ISBNs are not portable. This means they can only be used on KDP. If you decide to sell your book through another distributor, you will have to buy a private ISBN that can be used with any distributor, including Amazon.


If you use the free KDP ISBN, KDP will be shown as the publisher of your book rather than just its printer.


KDP offers both Standard and Expanded distribution. For a detailed discussion on the differences between the two, please see PART 2, Paperback Rights & Pricing, Distribution Rights.

The next chapter is devoted to generating an automatic Table of Contents for your book.

Click here to display the Table of Contents

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

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