I'm translating a media kit, and the "Advertising rates" section specifies how much the client would have to pay to place his ads on the four pages that comprise the "outermost" part of the magazine and are part of the same sheet of paper.

The client may not place an ad on the "1st cover page": this page is the "face" of the magazine, the front page, and its design is up to the editorial board to come up with.

So the "Ad rates" price list goes a bit like this (in Russian):

2nd cover page: 100 000 rubles
3rd cover page: 90 000 rubles
4th cover page: 120 000 rubles

The 4th cover page is on the back of the magazine, so naturally it costs more to place ads there.

Am I right in calling them thus, "2nd cover page" etc., or are there some special publishing terms for this?

Maybe the term "cover" should be used only for the 1st page out of these four pages? Then I'm not sure how to call the remaining three. I've been googling for terminology, for page layout terms, but haven't found any mention of this yet.

  • 1
    Certainly "front cover", "back cover", "inside front cover", and "inside back cover" are used and would be widely understood. But I don't know whether there are more appropriate technical terms used in advertising. Nov 16, 2017 at 20:06
  • @PeterShor - thank you! I came across the same terms just a couple of minutes ago. )) It's interesting how Russian terminology differs from English. Nov 16, 2017 at 20:09

1 Answer 1


At the U.S. magazines where I've worked, the terminology has always been front cover, inside front, inside back, and back cover.

In the past (and perhaps in some places even today), however, U.S. publishers may have assigned numbers to each of the four surfaces in question, in much the same way as (according to the OP) Russian magazine publishing does. S. Roland Hall, The Advertising Handbook: A Reference Work Covering the Principles and Practice of Advertising (New York: 1921) uses this nomenclature:

A few magazines sell part of the space on their front cover. The front cover is undoubtedly the most valuable position in magazine-advertising. The cover pages should ordinarily rank in this order, according to the various tests that have been made.

First cover

Fourth cover

Second cover

Third cover

The second cover has an advantage over the third only because the reader begins at the front of the book, and there is always some chance that he may discontinue his thumbing over of the pages before reaching the last page. The fourth cover gains second place in value largely because a magazine is left much of the time in such a position that the fourth cover is in full view of the reader.

This same handbook states that all of the other pages in a magazine are called "white pages"—so the interior page facing the inside front cover is termed "the first inside white page" and the interior page facing the inside back cover is termed "the last inside white page."

One contemporary source ("Must-Haves for Creatives" on the MBASkool website) indicates that the "first cover," "second cover," "third cover," "fourth cover" wording remains current, but most of relevant matches from a Google search for "first cover" + "second cover" + "third cover" + "fourth cover" are from the early 1900s. If the numbered terminology does persist at some publishing houses, it may be more common on the ad sales side than on the editorial side. In any event, I have never heard anyone in publishing use it.

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