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Considerations for a Two-Volume Work

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Hi all!

This is my first post on the forum, and I look forward to sharing ideas with you.

I am typesetting a long book, and we split it into 2 volumes. This raises the following questions:

  1. I assume these two books are called volumes, correct?
  2. Since the chapter numbering continues from one volume to the next (e.g., 1-10 in vol. 1, then 11-20 in vol. 2), should the page numbering continue too (e.g., 1-400 in vol. 1, then 401-800 in vol. 2)?
  3. In vol. 1, the page numbering of the front matter is in Roman numerals. What about vol. 2?
  4. Should the tables of content in both volumes be identical (i.e., contain everything in both volumes)?
  5. There will be an index. Does this affect the answer to #2?
  6. Should the entire index be placed at the end of both volumes?
  7. Does CMOS discuss this? I could not find it.


I am grateful to my colleagues for their assistance.




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Ralf Herrmann

I would derive the answers from the expected usage of the volumes. There are those cases, where multiple volumes are sold together as one item and are essentially just a big book that gets separated for practical purposes. In this case, you can treat the content like one book. 
On the other hand, there are those cases where the volumes can work as independent books as well. In that case I would treat the content separately. 

So, the answer to all those question is: “it depends”. 😉

What kind of field is it? Have you looked at multi-volume books in that field? That could be useful to see what works and what doesn’t. 

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Thanks for your help, Ralf.

Indeed, my thinking is exactly like yours, and for that reason, I laid it out with the page numbers of vol. 2 continuing where they left off in vol. 1.

This is really one long history book, so it belongs in one volume. But then we would have to make the type small, which would deter people from attempting to read it!

I do not know where to look for similar cases, and it is important that I retain a high level of professionalism.

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  • Solution

For detailed and fairly authoritative advice about editorial matters like these, you might want to look at The Chicago Manual of Style. I strongly suspect there are multiple respectable ways of handling the situation. FWIW, a recent two volume history of Western political thought, by Alan Ryan and published by Oxford, On Politics, is sold as two volumes (Books) in one box. Page numbering is continuous from Book One to Book Two, with Book Two starting on p. 400. There is a single index, at the end of Book Two. It gives page numbers with no further indication of which volume the pages are in. Interestingly, each Book has its own front matter including its own table of contents. The front matter pages carry small roman numeral page numbers that start over at i for Book Two. This wouldn't be the way to go if the two volumes were going to be for sale separately.

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Thank you, David, for your help!

Your professional example makes me more comfortable to follow that approach.

And I did some more searching in CMOS and found where they discuss this case. They agree that it is acceptable to continue in vol. 2 as you described. I am attaching their rule for anyone interested in reading it.

Thank you again,




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Thanks for posting the excerpt. Just for the record, my earlier post named the wrong for On Politics. In fact it was W.W. Norton (Liveright), another very respectable operation.

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