I am preparing a non-fiction book for self publication via Amazon, Print on Demand, and other online services.

Currently, my book has the following sections:

  1. Title page

  2. Copyright

  3. Dedication

  4. Acknowledgements

  5. Table of contents

  6. Main body

  7. Bibliography

However, some online resources, like this page, seem to indicate that acknowledgements should come after the table of contents. For various reasons, I'd like to keep the acknowledgements ahead of the table of contents.

Is there some reason the acknowledgements necessarily must precede the table of contents, or can I go my own way with it?

  • I have edited and expanded the answer. Please have a look. – Pravesh Parekh Apr 16 '14 at 8:25
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    If you're doing e-books, one factor to consider is what makes it "above the fold" in the preview. Unless you're being really verbose it probably doesn't make a difference here, but it's something I would want to check. – Monica Cellio Apr 16 '14 at 17:41

Doing a quick survey on a few books, I have seen that there is no consensus. I have books (non-fiction, technical books) that have Acknowledgements before and after the Contents page. However, I did see a larger number inclined towards including the Acknowledgment page after the Contents page even though there are books which have it before the Contents.

I do not see any obvious advantage or disadvantage of either of the methods. When writing a thesis one usually has a style guide as to where to include which part of the thesis and hence it is not a question in that case.

As per books, I would say that it is based on the publishing house and the style guide that they would like to follow. Usually a particular publishing house will have a fixed standard style which they apply to all of their books (for example, Blackwell Science usually has a fixed font style and overall design). Hence, I would say that you can go ahead and do it the way you would prefer it.


Getting It Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing) talks about the front matter of the books. However, at no point have they clearly mention explicitly mention anything about the arrangement of the front matter.

The Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing have Acknowledgements after the TOC. However, they do not mention anything about the order.

The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book does not mention anything about the ordering of the various content of the front matter but has Acknowledgements before the TOC.

These and others seem to highlight that the order is more about the style guide selected rather than a matter of strict consistency. Given the heterogeneity, one might as well go ahead and do it the way they want it to be done.


Most of the books I've read and checked have Acknowledgements before the Table of Contents. Though this will really also depends on your preference and/or your publisher's/editor's preference.

Some non-technical or fiction books even have their acknowledgements at the end of the book.


It makes better sense to put the acknowledgements before the table of contents because you are usually acknowledging people for their help and support in what amounts to the whole book. It make sense to put it before the TOC, so also the dedication.

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