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The curvature of the book cover around the book block forms the spine of the book.
Spine with back title

The spine is the narrow side of a book to which the book block is attached to the cover .

In the case of bound books with a hard cover, the spine is usually connected to the book cover like a hinge . The book block is attached to the gutter from the inside , usually by inserting a sleeve . The back forms a protective cap, which at the same time stabilizes the lid and thus guarantees a clean and secure connection.

In paperback books , the spine is usually firmly glued to the book block. Since this attachment is almost inflexible, flexible materials are mostly used for the binding. This type of book binding is called a brochure .

The spine of the book can be rounded or straight and usually bears a label stating the author , title and publisher of the book.


When the book is set up, the writing can either be vertical or horizontal, i. H. parallel to the spine fold or perpendicular to it.

In Germany , France and Italy, lettering parallel to the fold can be read from bottom to top (i.e. with the head tilted to the left) in the majority of cases, and in English-speaking countries from top to bottom (with the head tilted to the right). Books from continental Europe that are to be stored horizontally and on which the spine label should be legible are therefore stored with the title page facing down. The lettering from bottom to top enables the front of the book to become visible when a book is pulled out of the shelf. This type of labeling makes it easier to find a title in the vertical stack (bookshelf).

Labeling from top to bottom, on the other hand, allows horizontal storage of the book and especially of magazine stacks, with the first cover page , i.e. the front cover of a magazine, or the outer cover page of the front cover of a book, and the book or a labeled magazine spine at the same time are easy to read. This makes it much easier to find a particular title in a horizontal stack.

An international standard ( ISO 6357 “Spine titles on books and other publications ”) for the direction of the inscription has not caught on.

Web links

Commons : Spine of a book  - collection of pictures, videos, and audio files
Wiktionary: Spine of a book  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. DIN - NA 009 Library and Documentation Standards Committee, in short: NABD (Ed.): ISO 6357 . ( iso.org ).
  2. Left-rotating books. In: ZEIT Online. April 9, 2011, accessed October 17, 2012 .