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Double-Sided Book

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A book with two different stories—you read one side, then flip the book over and read the other one. The technical name for this type of book is tête-bêche; it is sometimes improperly called dos-à-dos, which properly refers to an even stranger book style that has two spines.

It's a form of Painting the Medium that enhances any parallelisms present in the work, be it contrasting arguments, Hourglass Plots, or Perspective Flips. As a result, it's rare for books in this format to not contain thematically connected or otherwise related stories.

Related to Unconventional Formatting (when words are arranged on the page in unusual or confusing ways), just in a whole-book scale. Compare Page-Turn Surprise (a cliffhanger's resolution is strategically placed on the next page).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Naruto: In-Universe example. Sai has an art book featuring pictures of himself and his brother on their respective journeys through life, each tale chronicled from opposite ends of the book. The picture in the middle is not completed.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman/Superman (Infinite Frontier): The 2021 Batman/Superman Annual. One side has a story about Superman, the other has a story about Batman, and they meet up in the middle. The central double-page spread has panels spiralling in toward the middle, arranged so that whichever direction you're reading from the panel at the top left continues the story from the previous page.
  • FantaSci: The last issue of this Apple Comics anthology is labeled "An Apple Turnover", with one story on each side, and a centerfold picture of an Eldritch Abomination that looked equally horrible either way up.
  • Youngblood (Image Comics):
    • The first issue includes two stories, flipped 180 degrees from each other. One story featured Youngblood's "Home Team", which dealt with domestic threats, while the other featured the "Away Team", which dealt with international threats.
    • After a long delay, Youngblood #5 eventually came out as the flip-side to the similarly-delayed Brigade #4.
  • In the early days of Image Comics it wasn't uncommon to see promos for upcoming series included on the flip side of existing series.

    Fan Works 
  • The Great Snape Debate, published just before the last Harry Potter novel offered the evidence for and against Severus Snape, with each half listing the arguments for one side, with some editions instead going for the more traditional single-sided look.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney Animated Canon: "My Side of the Story" is a series of books in which one of its films is told from different points of view; one side of the book is for the hero, and the other side is for the villain, with the story ending in the middle. These include Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Snow White and Queen Grimhilde), Cinderella (Cinderella and Lady Tremaine), Peter Pan (Peter Pan and Captain Hook), Sleeping Beauty (Princess Aurora and Maleficent), 101 Dalmatians (The Puppies and Cruella De Vil), and The Little Mermaid (1989) (Ariel and Ursula).
  • Frozen (2013): In the tie-in picture book Anna's Act of Love, the story is told from Anna's first-person point-of-view. Starting from the opposite cover of the book, Elsa's Icy Magic has Elsa as the protagonist.
  • Inside Out: In Joy's Greatest Joy/Simply Sadness, Joy and Sadness share their favorite memories of Riley. The two stories meet in the middle when the two emotions settle on the day of Riley's big playoff game as their favorite memory. For Sadness, it was because Riley missed the winning shot, felt awful, and wanted to quit, but her parents cheered her up by listening to her and telling her about the times they lost as well. For Joy, it was because Riley's hockey team congratulated Riley for doing her best and Riley's parents ordered pizza for lunch.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Borat: After the film came out, a double-sided book was released, supposedly written by the titular character. One side was titled "Touristic Guidings to Minor Nation of U.S. and A." and the other side was "Touristic Guidings to Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan". They were both, of course, riddled with broken English and glaring factual errors, as per the usual for Borat.

  • Mr And Mrs Smith: The upside-down version only had the initial chapter in which they meet from alternating points of view.
  • Ace Books used the format in their Ace Doubles series from the late 1950s through to the early 1970s. Most of the Ace Doubles comprised one book by an established author and one by a relative unknown, in an attempt to boost the unknowns' recognition. It's also worth noting that because of the Doubles' fixed page lengths (usually between 256 and 320 pages), novels often had to be abridged to fit.
  • This is also the format of the large-format Monty Python's Life of Brian / Monty Python Scrapbook.
  • Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch: Fearful Symmetry is in this format. The dualism conveys Iliana Ghemor's storyline of being surgically altered so she could be sent into deep cover as another woman. And that their mirror-universe counterparts also play an important role.
  • Brian Froud's Bad Fairies/Good Fairies. The critter in the middle could look like either, depending on which way up the picture is.
  • Double Feature: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies/Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies, one of the sequels to Geography Club (about the members of a high school gay-straight alliance) by Brent Hartinger, did this.
  • The Pirates! In an adventure with scientists and " " Ahab.
  • The Incredible Journey to the Center of the Atom by Trevor Day and Nicholas Harris is a popular science book which - depending on whether it is read forward or backward - takes the reader on a trip from the vastness of the galaxy to the individual nucleons, or vice versa; and provides either scientific commentary or poetic musings, depending on the way.
  • There was a tell-all book published about legendary basketball coach Bob Knight, made in an upside-down way. One side was titled "What a Knight!" and praised his coaching prowess and talked up his skills on the court when he was in his prime. The other side was titled "Knightmares" and generally dealt with Knight's Training from Hell as applied to his players, and his General Ripper relationship with the media.
  • There's an old Companion Library edition of Arabian Nights and Aesop's Fables that was published back in 1963 by Grosset & Dunlap.
  • The Sesame Street book I'm My Mommy – I'm My Daddy was published in 1975. In the center of the book is a two-page spread showing an aerial view of the family's living room.
  • This was also used in 1975 for a series of joke books compiled by Larry Wilde — for example, one volume had "The Official Polish Joke Book" on one side and "The Official Italian Joke Book" on the other.
  • Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel: It looks like one of these, and the author character in the book writes an unsuccessful version of one, but if you start reading at the back, you'll come across the tail end of a list and probably start at the real beginning.
  • Escape From War by James Riordan, a WWII history children's book: one side told the story of Frank, a boy growing up in wartime Britain, and the other told the story of Hannah, a Jewish girl who escapes Nazi Germany. The stories intersect at the end, where the Jewish girl gives a talk in front of the boy's classroom.
  • Tor Books' double-sided book series: #9 is The Ugly Little Boy and The Widget, The Wadget And Boff.
  • Viz Media's physical release of The Homestuck Epilogues. The Meat side is black with a white logo and text, and the Candy side is white with a black logo and text.
  • Ace Books double novel series has D-110; No World Of Their Own by Poul Anderson on the front and The 1,000 Year Plan by Isaac Asimov (the first novel of The Foundation Trilogy) on the back.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ghostwriter: One of the tie-in books (and possibly more) was this: Each side of the book told the story from a different character's viewpoint.

  • Yen Plus: This manga anthology magazine works like this, but slightly different from the usual; manhwa and OEL manga (which read left to right) are on one side, manga (reading right to left) on the other.
  • Bugs Bunny & Co., a German mag in the 90s printing comics based on Looney Tunes and its Spin Offs, did this in its twilight years.
  • Many, many equipment manuals with English on one side and Spanish or French on the other.
  • Doctor Who Magazine: In the Summer Special 1994, one side was "The Genesis of Doctor Who", with a cover picture from the VHS release of "An Unearthly Child"; a transcript of William Hartnell's Desert Island Discs interview; an interview with Virginia Wetherall (Dyoni in "The Daleks"); articles about the show's origins and the original title sequence; a fact file on "An Unearthly Child" (or "100,000 BC", as DWM insisted on calling it at the time); and a comic strip featuring First, Vicki and Steven. The other side was "The Destiny of Doctor Who", with a cover picture from the VHS release of "Survival"; interviews with Sylvester McCoy and Lisa Bowerman (not yet Bernice Summerfield, but Karra in "Survival"); articles about eighties visual effects and the McCoy title sequence; a fact file on "Survival"; and a comic strip featuring Seventh and Benny that was a direct sequel to the First Doctor one.

  • Rare double-tracked records contain two pieces of music on the same side accessible depending on where you placed the needle. Specific examples can be found on the Hidden Track page.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Gnosticism: The Ginza Rba—the primary religious scripture of the Mandeans—is divided into two sections, the Left and Right Ginza, which are typically printed upside-down from each other.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Traveller Classic's "Double Adventures" were like this. Each book had two mini-adventures, printed upside down to each other. This was done as a deliberate shout-out to the Ace Doubles.
  • Several Dark Sun adventures for Dungeons & Dragons used this format: DS1 Freedom, DSQ1 Road to Urik, DSQ2 Arcane Shadows, DSQ3 Asticlian Gambit and DSE1 Dragon's Crown.
  • The Call of Cthulhu double adventure The Vanishing Conjurer/The Statue of the Sorcerer, by Chaosium and Games Workshop.
  • The third edition of In Nomine Satanis / Magna Veritas had In Nomine Satanis on one side of the book, Magna Veritas on the other.

  • Yin and Yang, a short play about Erast Fandorin, is like this. Each side of the book contains exactly the same criminal case with only a few key differences that lead up to largely different conclusions.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: The Enchiridion & Marcy's Super Secret Scrapbook!!!: One half of this book is the Enchiridion featured in the show, the other is Marceline's childhood diary.