While reading novels, I like to put a bookmark on a page where a sentence or a paragraph ends, preferably at the bottom right, which will enable me to just turn the page and put the marker. I can later continue reading from the top left. Because of this habit, I noticed a peculiarity.

In some novels (type A), such pages are easy to find and almost every page ends the sentence or paragraph.
But in some novels (type B), every page ends with an incomplete sentence, which is continued on the next page. I have to continue reading until I come to a page where a sentence ends.

Now, I wondered if there may be a reason why the type A novels have such a pagination style. Was it coincidental or accidental ? Or was it a Deliberate structure ? If Deliberate, what is this style or structure known as ? Something like "Widow elimination" or "Page contiguous" !

{{ I have never seen general novels end with a single word on the last page. I think, if the last page had only one word, the editors may change the formatting slightly to fit that word in the Previous Page, or add more words to the last Page. Similarly, I wonder if Pagination is also stylistic }}

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about English language and usage, but about publishing conventions. It might fit on the Writers SE, but I'm dubious whether it even fits there.
    – Colin Fine
    Jul 3, 2017 at 17:52
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    I think this question should be moved. I feel it's a UX/usability issue, though perhaps it fits in better with other writing questions. Jul 3, 2017 at 18:31
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    Whatever is the typography tag for (The style and appearance of printed matter. The art or procedure of arranging type.) if not this? What about typesetting?
    – Xanne
    Jul 3, 2017 at 19:37
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    You'd have better luck if you added a SWR and phrase request tag, and ask what is this stylization (or formatting) called.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 3, 2017 at 21:28
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    Google typesetting, especially widows and orphans.
    – Xanne
    Jul 4, 2017 at 7:14

1 Answer 1


Pointers by @Xanne were very useful, to figure out answers to my observation about Pagination.
The novels where every page ends with complete sentences were indeed using a style to avoid "widows" and "orphans".

Regarding Definition, an excerpt from Wiki (emphasis mine) :
In typesetting, widows and orphans are lines at the beginning or end of a paragraph, which are left dangling at the top or bottom of a column, separated from the rest of the paragraph.

Regarding Style, The Chicago Manual of Style shows this (emphasis mine) :
orphan : A short line appearing at the bottom of a page, or a word or part of a word appearing on a line by itself at the end of a paragraph. Orphans can be avoided by changes in wording or spacing that either remove the line or lengthen it.
widow : A short, paragraph-ending line appearing at the top of a page. Widows should be avoided when possible by changes in wording or spacing that either remove the line or lengthen it.

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    Authors commonly rebel against having changes in wording imposed on them; especially those whose primary purpose is to change text length.  Changing spacing means that text takes up more space than it needs to.  The most straightforward way to achieve Type A typesetting is, basically, to insert unneeded line or page breaks, effectively moving partial sentences or paragraphs to the top of the next page; these techniques clearly waste paper real estate.  Statistically, such tricks will eventually waste pages. Economical publishers will avoid stunts that waste paper. Jul 6, 2017 at 2:01
  • @Scott , page break technique (specifically for novels) is listed almost last on [ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widows_and_orphans ] which has been used by many novels ; wastage may be true , but it also has benefits like making it easier to read, look better and making the novel bigger than it is. I have seen novels where there are about 8 blank pages at the end ; I am not sure if that is simply padding to increase the size of the book or some solution to binding problems.
    – Prem
    Jul 6, 2017 at 2:48
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    @Prem Yes, the blank pages at the end of a book are a side effect of a common bookbinding process that requires the total number of pages to be a multiple of 8, 16 or 32. Any novel over 100 pages won't be noticeably thicker with a few extra pages--and even if it would, it's doubtful such a difference would affect sales--so that's an unlikely incentive. It seems likelier that a book that came out to 257 pages would be finessed down to 256 to avoid the need for blank pages altogether.
    – Targeloid
    Feb 4, 2019 at 22:04

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