First, the basics. While a title page of a book is the very first page of the book, and has the title, subtitle, and author, the half title page is just before the body matter area and has solely the main title of the book. That's it. The main title and nothing more. There are no page numbers, headers, footers, or anything else. Just the main title.
The half title you see on the right is from my book Looking Back. Which you probably could guess :).
So why have a half title page?
Its purpose is to separate the front matter section from the main story. The reader is now prepared. They know the next thing they see is the start of the story. It's like a person settling down into their seat as a movie starts. It's the curtain pulling back. Everything that came before was them buying popcorn and knowing the stars' names and getting a sense of the general storyline. Now we are at the meat of it. The curtains are about to open. The story is about to begin.
The half title should always be on the right hand side of the book, and the half title should stand alone. It is the last thing the reader sees before they begin their experience.
Let the show begin!
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