For example, the real title is "Cooking vegetables: Beans, carrots and spinach". But on the cover that would be graphically punchier as:

Cooking vegetables:

  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Spinach

No comma and no "and". I would want the full title - "Cooking vegetables: Beans, carrots and spinach" - on the title page and in everything else that refers to the book, page headings, ISBN title, publicity.

  • Monty Python's Big Red Book has a blue cover. Don't let little things bother you.
    – EvilSnack
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 3:52

4 Answers 4


Yes. It is not unheard of for a book to have a shortened title on the cover. The full title should be on the spine of the book though, as this is professional.


It is not unusual for a work to have a variety of titles. The title may appear differently on the cover, title page, spine and other places. Resource Discovery and Access (RDA), the standard for Anglo-American library cataloging, provides instructions for dealing with each of these when cataloging a work. See http://resourcedescriptionandaccess.blogspot.com/search/label/TITLES-PARALLEL%20TITLE#.VoMtTo-cFMs


Assuming you are self-publishing and have full control over the actual cover, then absolutely! When you have your cover designed, you can determine the layout, font, positioning, or any other factor that you want. Regardless of whether you go through Amazon, Nook, Kobo, or any other, they will generally accept your cover without any input on how it is designed. However, when you list the title, you will need to determine how it should appear in a textual listing. Whether your book is listed in a search result, as part of a catalog, on a details page, or on the spine of the book, it is going to be displayed as simple text, and you will be much more limited there.


What is the title of a book? Since you're free to decide, pick what is most useful to your intended audience.

Also, why not look at the onix for books specifications for some widely agreed conventions used in the book trade and more or less universally adopted by online catalogues.

Disclaimer : as already mentioned,every catalog will have its own take even on standards and its own house styles.

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