First, please note that this howto is for books only (hardcovers, paperbacks, trade paperbacks), not for other types like magazines.
You'll find the rules for the "Pages" field in the Pages template which will appear in several other help pages (e.g. New Novel) as well.
Below are further explanations and examples regarding these rules for books.
Intention of "Pages"
The "Pages" field is supposed to give an idea about how much content a book contains and to also make its value comparable to the page numbers in other databases. It can sometimes be an exact value of the content, but is often only an approximation for several reasons:
- Different publishers start the counting of pages and use page numbering in different ways
- Different kinds of books mix content, non-content (like advertisements) and empty pages in different ways
- Don't use the count of all sheets of paper in a book.
- Don't skim through a book in order to subtract empty pages or advertisements found within the contents from the page count.
Some examples about page count accuracy
- Exact count: the 2014 Penguin Books edition of Dave Egger’s The Circle has a last printed page number of 491, which is indeed the last page of the novel. The first page of the novel is on page numbered 1, therefore a "pages" values of 491 is an exact value for this book.
- Approximation: the 1996 Vintage (UK) edition of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has a last printed page number of 324, which is indeed the last page of the novel. The first page of the novel is on page numbered 17, which results in only 307 pages containing content. Moreover, counting backwards from there to the beginning of the book would strangely make the cover of the book page 3 - i.e. even if every page of the book was numbered, there would be no pages 1 and 2. Still, this will be entered as "324".
Counting additional content
Here are some examples for a better understanding of how additional content on unnumbered pages in a book is entered. Please note that these examples don't cover all possible cases. And please note again that these examples are only for books.
||Use the last printed page number, no matter if you enter the acknowledgements as content or not.|
||Count forward to the last page of text (which doesn't include the short acknowledgements) and use that as the page count.|
||Count forward to the last page of text and use that as the page count. The afterword is regarded as additional content ("+").|
The afterword is regarded as additional content ("+").
||Count forward to the last page of text (which includes the afterword) and use that as the page count.|