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What to Include on Your Book’s Copyright Page

Your book’s copyright page is one of the
most important pages in your book, and it’s not as complicated as you think!

The copyright page is usually on the back of the Title Page and believe it or not is the culmination of your books’ creation. Below is the information and links you’ll need to do it all yourself.

Here’s what you need to include on your copyright page with further explanations for each item below:

A sample image of a book's copyright page with numbers that correspond to information explaining each item listed. From Raven Book Design

1. Copyright notice

How to get a U.S. copyright. The U.S. Copyright Office is a division of the Library of Congress. Go to copyright.gov, read the FAQs page, and then register online. You pay $35 for a single work by one author.

How to get a Canadian copyright. Canadian authors are lucky. Library and Archives Canada allows all writers to declare a copyright with no fuss at all. Simply write your copyright notice and reservation of rights (item 2 below) in your book and you are done. And if your book is printed and ready to go in the latter half of the year (say, Fall 2018), be sure to use the next year (2019) as your copyright date, thereby making your book “current” for a whole year.

How long does the copyright last? In both countries it protects your work for your lifetime plus 50 years.

2. Reservation of rights

Where do people get this copy from? Do they hire a lawyer? Well, no. In my experience, everyone simply uses the generic paragraph shown above or something similar, sometimes adding specific wording about how to obtain permissions, or deleting the phrase about reviewers. Think about this and then be specific about what others may and may not do with your words; in an infringement case, you’d have little to stand on without it.

While U.S. and Canadian copyright pages can look basically the same, how U.S. and Canadian  obtain their copyright notice and ISBN(s) is very different.* See below for more detail.

*Note: You MUST obtain your copyright and ISBN from the country where you live.

3. ISBN

Of course you already know that ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and that each part of the number has a meaning. You can read the details on page 447 of Book Design Made Simple. If you plan to sell your book in stores or online, you must have a number. And each different edition and format of your book needs a separate number: paperback, hardcover, audio book, EPUB edition, and Kindle edition.

In the example above we show only two ISBNs. If you have other editions, simply put all the numbers in a list. Don’t worry if you’ve already printed 1,000 copies of your book and then you decide to do an ebook. The list will get longer with each subsequent edition or format.

How to get a U.S. ISBN. A private company called Bowker is the official ISBN provider in the United States. Go to their website (Bowker.com) and purchase 1, 10, or more. Assign them to your books as you produce them via your online ISBN account. It’s best to use them in sequential order (using the number before the final hyphen, as shown above), just to keep things simple and logical. Keep careful records.

How to get a Canadian ISBN. ISBNs are free to Canadian publishers. Go to the Library and Archives Canada ISBN page to get yours.

Note: As with your copyright, get the ISBN from the country where you live. The country of your printer and the places where you plan to sell the book are irrelevant.

What about ISBNs provided by publishing services? Most of these services will give you an ISBN at no extra charge. Should you go for this great deal? We say no. That’s because the third section of the number identifies the publisher, and the publisher in this case is your service company. Librarians, bookstore owners, and distributors have come to recognize the numbers for BookBaby and the rest, and many will reject a book outright if they see one of those numbers. Before you sign on the dotted line with these folks, find out if they require you to use the ISBN that they provide.

This is one main reason that we advise you to use these companies as your PRINTER if you must, but not as your PUBLISHER. In other words, feel free to use their POD printing, but don’t use their publishing services.

To obtain an ISBN from ISBN Canada, you must be a Canadian publisher or self-publisher physically and permanently located in Canada. Self-publishers must reside in Canada to obtain ISBNs from the Canadian ISBN Agency. 

4. Cataloging-in-Publication data (CIP)

U.S Authors: If you publish 5 or more books a year, the Library of Congress will provide Cataloging in Publication (CIP) data for U.S.-published books. If you publish fewer, you might wonder why you need this data block at all. Basically, CIP data on your copyright page will get your book onto library shelves more quickly.

Canadian Authors: The Library and Archives Canada does not provide free CIP data any more.

For a list of private CIP data providers for both U.S. and Canadian authors click here (add link) Note: Make sure you let the CIP data provider know if you’re publishing from Canada or the U.S., as the data is slightly different. 

5. LCCN

Library of Congress Control Number (only available for U.S. authors)

Note: Canadian authors must register their print book with Legal Deposit once their book has been published. This is a lawful requirement. You’ll also be required to

 

 

How to get a U.S. copyright. The U.S. Copyright Office is a division of the Library of Congress. Go to copyright.gov, read the FAQs page, and then register online. You pay $35 for a single work by one author.

How to get a Canadian copyright. Canadian authors are lucky. Library and Archives Canada allows all writers to declare a copyright with no fuss at all. Simply write your copyright notice and reservation of rights (item 2 below) in your book and you are done. And if your book is printed and ready to go in the latter half of the year (say, Fall 2018), be sure to use the next year (2019) as your copyright date, thereby making your book “current” for a whole year.

Where One of the big differences between a Canadiana and a US copyright page is where you obtain your ISBN. Canadians are very lucky because they can obtain their ISBN(s) for free from Library and Archives Canada. You simply open an ISBN account by filling in the on-line application form and submitting it. This can take up to 10 business days so don’t wait until the last minute.

How to get a U.S. ISBN. A private company called Bowker is the official ISBN provider in the United States. Go to their website (Bowker.com) and purchase 1, 10, or more. Assign them to your books as you produce them via your online ISBN account. It’s best to use them in sequential order (using the number before the final hyphen, as shown above), just to keep things simple and logical. Keep careful records.