I am in the middle of a labeling project. We are setting up an indexing system (similar to a library) for our parts manuals, catalogs, etc. I am printing up the index number labels for the binders, but I was wondering, is there a correct way to rotate the label? I've heard that the "top of the text" should be towards the left (as you are looking at it), but that would end up reading from the bottom up. Is this correct, or should the top of the text be to the right so that you are reading from the top down? Thank you for your response.

2 Answers 2


Both ways to write title on the book spine have rational reasoning behind.

Top-to-bottom - reading the title on the spine is easier if book is lying on the table, but it is important only if you have a stack of books.

Bottom-to-top - reading is easier when the book stands on the shelf because it matches with western writing direction.

If you binders are thick enough consider horizontal layout of the text.

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In UK, Holland and other countries the text on spine reads from top to bottom. – The advantage in this case is that when a book is placed flat with cover facing up, the text is right way up on the spine. In France, Germany and other countries the text on the spine reads from bottom to top. While the text is upside down when placed flat, the advantage in this case is that when there is a series of books on a shelf the titles stack correctly from left to right. Libraries often put numerical catalogues right way up when the books are vertical [on the book shelf].

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