I would like to know whether there are any general rules for the dimensions and placement of figures and tables in books. For example, if you first refer to a figure in the middle of a page, is it best to place the figure there, i.e., in the middle of a page, or at the top or bottom of the page?
I realize that this is probably a matter of taste. (Personally, I think that it usually looks better if they are placed at the top or at the bottom.) I'm less interested in personal opinions (though they are welcome, too), but in general rules that have been developed over the centuries by book designers similar to the general rules about page and type block dimensions by Tschichold in The Form of the Book and about fonts by Bringhurst in The Elements of Typographic Style.