Self-Publishing Basics: The Copyright Page

by Joel Friedlander on October 28, 2009 · 129 comments

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In an earlier post on how to make a book, I explained the role of the copyright page:

Copyright page—Usually the verso of the title page, this page carries the copyright notice, edition information, publication information, printing history, cataloging data, legal notices, and the books ISBN or identification number. In addition, rows of numbers are sometimes printed at the bottom of the page to indicate the year and number of the printing. Credits for design, production, editing and illustration are also commonly listed on the copyright page.

Now I’d like to look at the all-important copyright page in a little more detail. This page and its contents are the way your book is represented to librarians, bibliographers, other publishers, quantity sales buyers, writers wishing to use quotations from your book, and production planners of future editions.

What Has to be on Your Copyright Page No Matter What

The single most important element on the copyright page is, no surprise, the copyright notice itself. It usually consists of three elements:

  1. the © symbol, or the word “Copyright” or abbreviation “Copr.”
  2. the year of first publication of the work; and
  3. an identification of the owner of the copyright—by name, abbreviation, or some other way that it’s generally known.

Together, it should look like this:

© 2009 Joel Friedlander

At one time you actually had to print the copyright notice in an acceptable form to receive copyright protection in the U.S. but this is no longer the case.

Because the © symbol isn’t available on typewriters or computer terminals with only lower-ASCII character sets, the copyright symbol is often approximated with the characters (c). Unfortunately, this form of notice may not stand up in court.

What Else You’ll Find on the Copyright Page

Many of these items may not be applicable to your book, but this is where the publisher has to fit all the legal notices and other information for use by the book trade. Keep in mind that a reservation of rights is vital, and the publisher’s contact information is practical and appropriate. So here’s the rundown of other elements on the copyright page:

  • Your reservation of rights, where you outline what rights you reserve and which you allow. Usually a nod is made to fair use, which can hardly be prevented in any event. Because further permissions will involve the publisher’s approval, you will also find here…

  • The publisher’s editorial address. Larger publishers will likely include…

  • Ordering information including quantity sales, individual sales, college texbooks or course adoption requests and orders by trade bookstores or wholesalers. In each case specific contact information may be included.

  • Any trademark notices the publisher may hold to names and logos of the publishing company or its imprint,

  • A statement regarding the environmental friendliness of the products and processes used to produce the book, like a notice that it is printed on recycled paper or with non-toxic soy inks.

  • Cataloging-in-Publication Data, either from the Library of Congress for participating publishers, or from another source such as Quality Books, a distributor who will provide this data block for a fee. This is primarily of interest to library sales.

  • An edition of the book. For instance, a second edition might or might not be noted on the title page, but will certainly be indicated on the copyright page.

  • Printings and years indicators. These are the odd strings of “funny numbers” often seen near the bottom of the copyright page. Typically at the left margin will be years, and on the right a series of numbers to indicate printings. Next year, if a new printing is needed, the plates for the book do not need to be remade. The pressman simply erases one digit off each series of numbers, effectively updating the notice. This is for the use of the publisher’s production department, and is likely to become an artifact as digital printing takes a larger share of the publishing pie.

  • Lastly, some enlightened publishers use the copyright page to credit the contributors to the book including designers, production managers, proofreaders, indexers, and editors.

  • Think of the copyright page as the place where the publisher tries to get all its work done, take care of legal and bibliographic necessities, before getting out of the way of the author.

    When you come to creating your own copyright page, pick the elements that seem most suitable to your book. Keep the whole thing as unobtrusive as possible and you can’t go wrong.

    copyright for self-publishersWant to know more about copyright? Need some sample copyright pages to drop into your book? Confused about the things you read online about copyright? Check out this 30-page easy-to-read guide. Click The Self-Publisher’s Quick & Easy Guide to Copyright for more info, or Buy Now as PDF or Kindle.

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    { 103 comments… read them below or add one }

    Suzanne Birchmier June 27, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Dear Joel, thank you for your advice with copyright. I published my first poetry book and sent my copyright in first before I printed the book. Your advice is to have the printed final copy of my novel sent in after it is published, correct? This will be my second book.

    Thank you, Suzie Birchmier

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander June 28, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Suzanne, thanks for visiting. Usually you send the book to the Library of Congress after it’s been printed. You print the copyright notice in the book, of course, then fill out the forms that accompany the book.

    Reply

    HL April 2, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Hey Joel -

    If you are interested in reviewing my work …

    HL

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander April 2, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    HL, this is not the right place for your request. Please use our contact form instead, thanks. Here’s a link: Contact Form.

    Reply

    chris colander September 12, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Hi Joel:

    New subscriber to your page and you have very helpful information. I am completing my first work and working with Lightning Source through my Not for Profit as the publisher. A couple of questions. Can you refer me to a site that has a couple of samples of the copyright page? My editor did my title page, however after reading your article I would like to do a copyright page also. Also best program recommendations for typography and transforming the text into PDF files for Lightning Source. I finished writing and content has been edited by professional. Now I need to complete the typset…help?

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander September 12, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Chris,

    See the article here: Copyright Page Samples You Can Copy and Paste Into Your Book

    Most book designers use Adobe InDesign for layout and typography. However, this is not a particularly good solution for someone who only wants to do one book. Your choices would be buying an expensive piece of software and learning to use it, doing the book in a word processing program, or hiring a professional to do that part for you.

    Reply

    Tom June 28, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Thanks for this page it helped me.

    Reply

    Ellicia Ferrell January 15, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    This article was very helpful to me. I just finished writing a book and I do not know what steps to take next. I am looking towards being a self-publisher. I wrote my book in Microsoft word format but it is not in “book format.” What steps do I take next?

    Reply

    Joleene Naylor February 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    After you edit it, you need to format it per the requirements of your publisher. You can find the details on their website (example Smashwords.com, CreateSpace.com, etc.)

    Reply

    Joleene Naylor February 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Well broken down! The only thing I could think that might improve this article would be an example paragraph concerning the rights ie. All Rights Reserved blah, blah, blah.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm
    Karen Picketts May 11, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Helpful! Thank you for this article.

    I have one question about the copyright page:

    I’m a design student, and have got some freelance work designing a book for a local author. He is getting an ISBN and all that sort of stuff. I think he also wants to include a sentence indicating where the book was printed and bound. (I see a lot of these in mass-market books: “Printed and bound in the USA,” etc.) However, since we are using Blurb, I can’t include this. Blurb sends their files to different printing companies in many different countries, and by the sounds of it there’s no way to tell where our books will be printed.

    So, I was wondering: is this sentence necessary? I am assuming not, since I don’t see it mentioned in this article (unless I am quite blind). Can I convince my client to leave this out?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 11, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Karen,

    I would be quite surprised if Blurb were printing books overseas and shipping them back, the costs would be rather high. Have you inquired directly with Blurb? That’s where I would start.

    The statement of origin is actually a good thing to have on your copyright page. See this article for some examples:

    Copyright Page Samples You Can Copy and Paste Into Your Book

    Reply

    Karen Picketts May 11, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Hmm, thank you! I will try contacting them before proceeding.

    Out of curiosity, why is the statement of origin important?

    Thanks again in advance!

    Reply

    Jamie June 9, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Hi Joel!

    Thank you for all the helpful information! I have a follow-up question related to copyrighting specific images. I am doing the layout and some illustrations for a kids science curriculum. The organization (a non-profit) is self-publishing the book, and then selling it to secure some returns for the organization. So my questions are….
    1. This constitutes commercial use, right? (Even though we are a non-profit, we are planning to sell it)
    2. While some of the illustrations are mine, some are also clip art from open sites that allow for commercial use. Do I need to distinguish which ones are mine (i.e., do they need to be marked differently?)
    3. My boss wants a copyright at the bottom of every page. Is this necessary?

    Thank you!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander July 12, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Jamie. Did you see the video where I answered your questions? If not, here’s a link:

    Copyright questions [video]

    Reply

    Doris Ashley June 13, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Joel,
    I am planning to publish a book that contains Civil War items. They are my great great grandfathers diary(which was handed down to me), 60 letters from my great grandfather (which I had tracked down and were given to me by non family members) and about 60 letters from his brother(which I found in a library). I know you can have things that have been willed to you copyrighted. I believe I should list myself as editor. Of course I would be adding much info about all of them in an introduction. I will probably publish an ebook. I am wondering about having it copyrighted.
    Doris

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander July 12, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Doris, the unpublished materials are covered by copyright. When you publish them in a book, you’ll register the copyright to the entire book at once. If you need to know how to do that, see this article:

    How to Copyright Your Book

    Reply

    Barbara Goodheart July 11, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Hi, Joel –

    Thanks for your articles. (I’m a new subscriber.)

    Two copyright questions:
    I’m going to publish an existing print book as an ebook through Amazon.

    1.) Should the copyright page read something like:

    Original Source: The Wild Place, by Barbara Goodheart
    Copyright © 2005 by Barbara Goodheart, Inc.
    Hardcover Edition ISBN- 13: 978-0-595-80017-9
    Paperback Edition ISBN- 13: 978-0-595-34995-1
    Hardcover Edition ISBN- 10 :0-595-80017-3
    Paperback Edition ISBN- 10: 0-595-34995-1

    Kindle Edition: Copyright © 2011 by Barbara Goodheart, Inc.
    (followed by Amazon’s ASIN)

    2.) Do I need four ISBNs?

    Thanks in advance,
    Barbara Goodheart

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander July 12, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Hi Barbara, great to have you as a reader.

    1. Unless you’re changing the title, I see no reason for the “Original source…” line.
    You don’t need to list both 13- and 10-digit ISBNs, the 10-digit is not in use much anymore, just on books that were originally published before the 13-digit ISBN was introduced.
    You don’t need to list the ASIN since it is a proprietary stock-tracking number specific to Amazon. You can, however, assign an ISBN to the Kindle edition.
    2. You need 1 ISBN for each unique edition, so:
    1 for hardcover
    1 for softcover
    1 for Kindle (if you decide to use one)
    1 for ePub (this ISBN is for all e-book vendors who are selling the same ePub file)

    Hope that helps

    Reply

    Michj563 September 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Loved the article!!
    Could you please tell me what “BVG” means. I’ve seen this on copyright pages and have been unable to find a definition… Thanks!!

    Reply

    vivian tannenbaum September 30, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Dear Joel:
    I self-published my deceased husband’s poems in 1981 and included the (c) as you suggest. Now, a lawyer has contacted the family to obtain permission to use a poem in a musical composition. How do I legally give permission? That particular poem had previously been published in a leading poetry magazine. Do they give permission as well?
    Thanks for your help.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander October 2, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I’m going to assume you held onto the copyright and only licensed the poetry magazine to reproduce it. And keep in mind I am not a lawyer, I don’t give legal advice. In my opinion, you can negotiate as the copyright holder with the lawyer. It’s not usually a good idea to negotiate directly with a lawyer unless you have a lawyer yourself. But usually a permission is given in the form of a letter, and states the exact use to which the material will be put, any limitations on the use, and the compensation that will be paid to the rights holder. The kind of lawyer you would want to query about this is an intellectual property lawyer. Hope that helps.

    Reply

    Mandy October 25, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Note that using both the C-in-a-circle and the word “Copyright” technically violates the notice requirements of Title 17 Section 401(b)(1), which clearly states “or,” not “and/or.” Choose one or the other.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander October 25, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Thanks, Mandy, I’ll make the correction.

    Reply

    Jim D'Angelo December 9, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Dear Joel,

    I didn’t see this question addressed and may have just missed it, but do self-publishing outfits like Amazon retain any rights over your work, such as publisher’s rights, which would prevent the book from being re-published, more or less as is, by a commercial printing firm like, for example, Charles Scribner’s & Sons, etc.?

    Thanks
    Jim

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander December 9, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Hi Jim,

    Amazon is not a self-publishing company, it’s a book retailer just like Barnes & Noble or the indie bookstore in your town. Their print on demand subsidiary, CreateSpace, acts as a printer and distributor but holds no rights to the books it produces. Scribner’s is a publisher, and publishers acquire the right to publish through a licensing arrangement known as a publishing agreement made with the owner of the material. The agreement spells out exactly which rights are being granted to the publisher.

    Hope that helps.

    Reply

    Azure December 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Hi Joel,
    I have a question. Do we have to personally print the copyright page or will the publisher themselves will print it for us?

    Reply

    carha January 1, 2012 at 9:10 am

    im making a childrens piture book for my chool book report and i didnt know how to do the copyright page this page really helped me thamk you

    Reply

    Karen February 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    So if I obtained my copyright in 2011 but am not getting it published until 2012, it should say 2012? Also, I’ve changed the subtitle since I filed. Does this affect my copyright?
    Thanks! You’re the best.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Karen, if you’ve already copyrighted the book in 2011, that won’t change. Most books are copyrighted after they’re published, so this isn’t an issue. You would have to change at least 10% of the content to justify a new edition, and therefore, a new copyright filing.

    Reply

    Tamara March 5, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Thanks for the article. Extremely helpful and easy to understand. Great information for writers.

    Re the Copyright page where you have to put the author’s name, is it ok to put the pseudonym if you want to maintain anonymity? Is there some sort of legal process that has to be done to link the pseudonym to your real name?

    Thanks in anticipation

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Tamara,

    See this information from the Copyright office about how to copyright a pseudonymous work: Pseudonyms in copyright. It explains how to do it by using both your real and pen names on your copyright filing.

    Reply

    Chad March 17, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Joel:

    Thanks for the article. My wife is about to finish her first book. We will have it published as an eBook. I will apply for a copywrite on it but am not sure how long that takes to get approval. Can we put a copywrite page in the book before notification of approval?

    Also, if we publish through an online publisher they will provide an ISBN number after we submit the book. Does the ISBN number have to be on the copywrite page? If so, how can it be added at a later time?

    Thanks again.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander September 24, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Chad,

    You want to publish the book first, with the copyright notice, then register the copyright after publication. You don’t need any “approval” since the work is already copyrighted, this just registers your copyright with the Copyright office.

    Reply

    Zhuanli August 21, 2012 at 6:02 am

    Dear sir:
    I’m going to public my art-work for my copyright, but I am a new person for this area. Could you tell me where and how I can public my artwork? they are some newspapesr or magazine?

    Thanks!

    Zhuanli

    Reply

    Carol A Ranney September 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    I am writing a book about bullying and suicide in our schools. I would like to include pictures of a few of the kids and quotes from their parents, to drive home the devastating tragedy of what is happening in our schools. Their stories and pictures are available all over the internet, but I don’t know what I could legally quote in my book or whether I could use any pictures without tracking down the families etc. Thanks for your help!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander September 24, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Carol,

    Unfortunatley, just because something is “all over the internet” does not mean you can use it without permission. In the case of photos of people you will definitely need written permission from the individuals or a signed model release. In addition, whoever took the photos owns the copyright to them and as copyright owner, they own the reproduction rights. You can re-tell the stories in your own words, but don’t use anyone else’s material without permission.

    Reply

    Carol October 16, 2012 at 6:44 am

    My co-author and I are publishing our first book with createspace and we are very unclear about Library of Congress Control Number. How do we obtain it? What’s the purpose? Can you answer these questions or refer us to a good resourse? CS charges $49 to assist with this but its unclear what we actually get and it apparently takes 10 days. I appreciate your assistance on this subject.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander October 31, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Carol,

    I don’t think it’s worth paying $49 unless you find it difficult filling out a form. You can find complete information about this at the Library of Congress website. Hope that helps

    Reply

    Danny October 30, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Joel,
    I’m an author and I was wondering, does the writer type the copyright page, or does the publisher?

    Thanks in advance,
    Danny

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander October 31, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Danny, it’s fine to include a copyright statement in your manuscript, but the copyright page as a whole is the responsibility of the publisher. Keep in mind that if you publish the book yourself, you’ll need to create your own copyright page.

    Reply

    Carrie November 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I’m so glad I found this website. I watched your video where you told Jamie she didn’t need a copyright on every page. I hope I’m not having you repeat yourself when I ask about that. I am a brand new freelancer at the ripe age of 41 and received my first contract to write an Ebook. My employer writes: “Also, it would need to show the copyright at the bottom of each page with the title.”

    I’ve seen so many different versions of copyrights at bottoms of pages, I’m not sure what I should put. Plus, I’m using a pen name as this contract is for something my dear sweet grandmother might get the vapors from reading, so do I put that on the copyright or am I required to put my legal name?

    This is not due until November 30th, 2012, so I’m not too worried yet, but the vagueness (or just my naivete) of the employer’s request is something with which I’m not sure of myself.

    Thanks,
    Carrie

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander November 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Carrie,

    The only time there might be a reason to put a copyright on every page is if the book is likely to be distributed at some point as single pages, like if it’s a looseleaf. Other than that, there’s nothing to gain from doing it, since the entire work is covered when it’s created, and the publication of the copyright notice doesn’t create any rights in and of itself. I guess if the client is worried about piracy you could put something like “copyrighted content—do not copy” on the pages, but do you think that will deter someone who wants to steal the content? You can do the notice in your pen name, just make sure when you complete the copyright documents to send to the Copyright Office that you list both the pen name and your legal name.

    Reply

    Carrie November 19, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Joel,

    Thanks for your reply. The E-book would be able to be broken down into different articles if needed, which I think might be the employer’s goal. I guess I should just ask them what they want listed on the pages, it would save me a headache!

    Carrie

    Reply

    Danielle November 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Joel,

    I have two questions,
    1) What software would you use for a fantasy novel
    and
    2) How do you get the page size to get smaller when you print it out? Is there a special printer for that or is it software?

    Thanks!

    Reply

    Suzanne Birchmier December 7, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Dear Joel, I am going to sell another poetry and comedy book. This time I want to make it homemade like a chapbook. But instead more like a booklet. What are your thoughts on instead of a folded four chapbook, this book could be more like a two column booklet still resembling a chapbook? I would just have a piece of construction paper and fold it down the middle and punch holes in it and sew it up. I actually have no expertise in this area so I though you might have some. Thanks.

    Reply

    Dave December 22, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Joel,

    I wrote a book 20 years ago and copyrighted it then. It was never published. Now that there are easy self publishing options I plan to go forward and publish it as an e-book. I would like to use a 2013 copyright date rather than a 1992 date. Is there any way I can do this so that it appears to be a “new” book? I have made some changes to the story, but they are relatively minor.

    Reply

    Randall Green February 4, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Thanks Joel for the good info.

    One important question that I cannot seem to find the answer to is where a copyright page legally must be shown in terms of the page order. “Usually the verso of the title page” seems a bit vague when talking about such a specific and technical subject.

    I think that seeing legal language as on of the first page a user sees is just ugly. Can we place it in the rear and still be protected? In the era of conventional printing publishers usually had to “fill up” the spreads. Now with digital printing each page costs money.

    Thanks.

    rg

    Reply

    Aliesha March 7, 2013 at 12:16 am

    Wow, I know this post is from years ago (something that I noticed after reading the article) but I’m hoping there is still someone out there that can answer my question or maybe even you Joel.
    I just finished writing a novel and want to get it published and have been looking into Amazon ebooks as a self publishing option. You mentioned in an earlier response to a comment that Amazon is not a self publishing venue so what does that mean for the copyright page? It asks to be included and I have no clue what to place there if anything at all.
    I see that you still respond to comments so I am hopeful for a response. After failing to get my book noticed by any publishing companies I am hoping that Amazon can grant me my dream of becoming a “published” auther and would love your expertise.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Hi Aliesha,

    Amazon is a book retailer. Their CreateSpace.com division is a print on demand vendor where many authors publish their own books. And their Kindle Direct Publishing service allows authors to publish their own ebooks. Your copyright page is your own responsibility because you will be the publisher, and that’s why I wrote these articles to give you some guidance about what to put there.

    Also see this post: Copyright Page Samples You Can Copy and Paste Into Your Book

    Reply

    James Juma March 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Dear Sir,
    I have a copy of my first flash fiction and poetry book that I am going to list as a ebook on Kindle Direct Publishing and I need to include a copyright. When I send the book to the Library of Congress to apply for a copyright what form does the book need to be in? A completed finished copy with the beautiful cover page or can I send in a unbound version? Thank you.

    Reply

    Mili Fay April 4, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Dear Joel,

    I’m days away from sending my book to the printer, and though I’ve done a tone of research and have already created a copyright page (thank you for the information), I have a problem I hope you’ll be able to solve.

    I’m an artist, and I’m self-publishing this book under my solo-proprietorship business–Mili Fay Art–as a work of art. My problem is that I do not want to print my private address on the copyright page. I also believe that renting a P.O. Box is a waste of money, because I do not expect to receive a lot of mail. My question is this: Do you think I can leave the physical address out and just place an e-mail and my website as sources of contact information?

    I have an ISBN number and have registered my address with CIP, but I do not want to have it printed in the book.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    Mili

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander April 4, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Mill, you are fine with the copyright page the way it is. As long as you’ve provided contact information, as you have with your email and web address, that’s all you’ll need. Good luck with the book!

    Reply

    Mili April 5, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks for the quick response. :-)

    Reply

    Tony April 7, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Hi Joel,

    I have read all the comments on here and it’s very useful information, thanks.
    One question I can’t find an answer to. I plan to send by book to kindle and have written it under a pen name. I don’t want to put my real name in the copyright so if I put my pen name, will that give me copyright on my material.

    I did find a link about copyright and pen names but that gave information about completing forms.

    Thanks

    Tony

    Reply

    Rick Jones April 14, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I wrote a book back in 1988 and gave a publisher the exclusive rights to publish it. Last year I rewrote the book to update it and kept the same title but called it the 2012 edition. Would the publisher have the exclusive right to print this book too, or could I self publish it? Thanks for your help.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander April 14, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Rick, you really need to look at your contract. If it’s a new edition of the book, it would supersede the old one, killing its sales, and that could be a problem. My advice would be to consult with an intellectual property attorney before publishing.

    Reply

    Marie September 21, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Hi,
    I have a poetry chapbook that was accepted by a university press. They want exclusive rights and second and third serial rights. The rights don’t expire until they stop printing the book (they are still printing books and chapbooks from ten years ago). Everyone I know who’s published a chapbook was able to publish the poems in a later full-lenght collection–will signing this contract prevent me from doing so? Should I try to negotiate a different contract or should I just accept this–there’s no doubt I’m very lucky to be published and I love the press!

    Reply

    Roger September 22, 2013 at 2:44 am

    Hello Marie,

    I have a couple of questions to your message. Are you paying them any money to print the chapbook? Do you know their print run? How much money will you get from each booklet?

    They want exclusive rights to published your Chapbook. Then you have lost control?

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander September 22, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Marie, I’m not a lawyer and can’t offer you legal advice, but in my experience it’s common for publishing agreements to contain a clause that allows the publisher to keep the right as long as the book is in print, and/or sells a minimum number of copies per year.

    The rights, no matter what other authors got in other contracts, are spelled out in the contract they’ve presented to you. You’ll need to balance your desire to be published by this press against your desire to print these later in another form.

    Don’t ignore the fact that the publisher might give you permission for the use you want to make of your work in the future, and may well be open to negotiation right now, before the contract is signed.

    Reply

    juli August 6, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Hi Joel — this has been a super helpful article and comments section! I am self publishing and printing a children’s picture book. It’s all set to go to the printers but now i have a question about the copyright page location. When you open the cover, the first page on the right side is blank, then I have the copyright page on the left side (page 2) and on the right side is the title page (page 3) and then books starts on the 4th page. I did not put any additional pages in the beginning for cost reasons. But now I have have read in a few place that the Title page MUST be before the copyright page. Is that true and if so why would that be necessary. While they are side by side, my title page is technically after the copyright page. I would SO appreciate some clarity on this. Thank you.

    Reply

    Robert August 29, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Hello Joel,

    I find your articles very helpful to me.

    My question is regarding the copyright page. I will be a publisher for a friends book, format the book, deal with the printer, all the running about etc.

    The story a bit complex as an unpublish manuscript held in the library, the copyright owner has given permission for my friend to use. The manuscript is large 150,000 words, revised down to 35,000 for her book. added her own words for an introduction chapter. The library has given permission to use photos from their collection.

    I know the basic details for the copyright page. Author has copyright of the book. Can you help with wording to list the copyright owner of the original manuscript. Also the help and assistance for the images from the library collection.

    Thanks

    Reply

    Author Stefanie G September 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Joel, great site. I use it as a source all the time. I scrolled through your articles and didn’t see a response to my question. Forgive me if I’ve missed it.

    I’m planning to do a reprint of a previously published work. The work has a new title but somewhat similar interior. How do I list this work on the copyright page? It will have a new ISBN.

    New Book Name
    Copyright (c) 2013 by Stefanie Graham

    Old Book Name
    Original Copyright (c) 2009 by Stefanie Graham

    Does that look about right?

    Thanks,
    S

    Reply

    Roger September 12, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Why are listing the old book name from 2009?

    You are saying new title, inside changed and new ISBN. Seems to me a new and different book.

    Reply

    Author Stefanie G September 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    To clarify, the interior is 95% the same. Mostly updates, spelling corrections, etc. The title change and the cover image change is why a new isbn is needed.

    Reply

    Roger September 12, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Then its a new book, so why do you want to include the old book name?

    I have republished books. Even same title, cover and inside, nearly a carbon copy. I never refer to the original book on the copyright page. Unless it was a reprint, then I would list as “1st printed in 19**” “2nd printed 20**”

    Reply

    Author Stefanie G September 13, 2013 at 7:52 am

    I want to include the old book name so my readers aren’t mislead into thinking it’s a new book (new interior) because it has a new cover and new title. Without mentioning it somewhere the misunderstanding can occur, right?

    Originally thought just to use the old ISBN with the new cover but was told I can’t do that.

    Reply

    Robert September 13, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I think you will only confuse people, two books wth 2 different titles and ISBN, but you are saying are the nearly the same?

    Anyway do people ever read the copyright page. When I quickly look at a book in a book shop. I am not interested in the copyright page.

    Reply

    Dan September 20, 2013 at 9:26 am

    There’s quite a few blog posts out there on copyright pages but I’m glad I ran into this one. You don’t need to wade through a bunch of filler to find what you’re after. You’ve clearly laid it out, short, sweet and to the point.

    Copyright page is very important in today’s world of online piracy. I should know.. it’s my job to stop ebook theft. (hope this is ok) http://stopebooktheft.com

    Going to bookmark this one. Thanks

    Reply

    Suzanne Birchmier October 9, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Dear Joel, I have self-published my third book called, “The Crazy Cat Experience” It is comedy and poetry. I am having trouble marketing it at this time. Do you know of any publishers that would pick up my book and market it for me? In Iowa or across the country?

    Reply

    francy October 29, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    hello!
    can you teach me how to make a copyright page?thanks a lot.

    Reply

    John October 29, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    You can find a sample on this web site.

    Reply

    Donette January 22, 2014 at 5:54 am

    Hello, I am planning to self-publish through Create Space/Amazon. Can you tell me at what point should I seek copyright i.e. after I get the first copy they print for me to proofread or before I upload my manuscript to them?

    Secondly, I wanted to know if my cover page design (front and back covers) should be included in my copyright registration submission. Or should it just include the actual manuscript in pdf and they view the cover pages when I forward the printed copies to the Library of Congress?

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 22, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Donette, you’ll copyright your book after it’s published, and the cover will be an integral part of the books you submit with your copyright registration.

    Reply

    Akruin February 21, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Hey Joel!

    We are having a book reprint from a previous edition (2004). The manufacturing party (is also the co-editor) insists we do not need to specify in the copyright page that this is a reprint, also they claim we do not even need to include “2014″ in the copyright page since is a direct reprint from the 2004 edition. Is that possible?

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 22, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Hi Akruin.

    If you treat this edition as simply a reprinting of the 2004 original, there’s no need to change anything about the book.

    Reply

    HB March 6, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Hello;

    I will be self-publishing under a pen name. What would the copyright page for a pen name, since copyright does not extend to pseudonyms? Would it still be (C) 2014 Pen Name?

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 6, 2014 at 9:12 am

    HB, that’s exactly right. You can show the copyright either under your pen name, or your publisher name. On the copyright registration for the book you’ll list both the pen name and your real name.

    Reply

    HB March 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Thank you so much for your response! Is copyright registration mandatory for self-publishing?

    Reply

    HB March 6, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    More specifically, is copyright registration mandatory for those self-publishing with Amazon?

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 6, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Copyright registration is voluntary for all publishers. Copyright itself is automatic when you create a work. However, it’s prudent to register your copyright because, if your work is ever infringed, you will have a much stronger case, and the ability to recover litigation costs, that you won’t have if you don’t register. It has nothing to do with retailers like Amazon or any others.

    Reply

    HB March 7, 2014 at 5:48 am

    Thank you!

    Reply

    CW March 16, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Good Morning,
    I read through all the copyright questions and answers and, honestly, I am still confused. I am finalizing an illustrated children’s book and the copyright page is left. I am using createspace to get it out for printing and bought my own ISBN numbers and just received my LCCN number. It is a fairytale, so see no need to worry if any of the characters are based on real humans so skipping that portion unless it is important.
    So far I have this:
    “Copyright © 2014 Seaway Press. All rights reserved.
    This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher.”

    ISBN-10: 0996013202
    ISBN-13: 978-0-9960132-0-8″

    I looked through a lot of copyright pages and just got more and more confused. Where do I put the LCCN I received a few days ago? If somebody wants to order the book like a school or library where would they go to order it? Would they automatically go to Amazon? Who would the “publisher” be? Seaway Press? Would I add an address? Email?

    Reply

    Nick April 25, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Mr. Joel…I want to self-publish first book. I understand POD concept. But…I want to say ‘First Printing’ in the front matter, regardless of how many times I go to printing this book. If I did 100 copies at one a time, can I still say ‘First Printing’. Does this make sense?

    Copyright 2014 Nick…
    First Edition, First Printing, First Book Author

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander April 26, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Nick, for POD books, “first printing” has become just about meaningless. You can still put it in there if you like, but it’s mostly symbolic these days.

    Reply

    Kimber May 5, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Hi Joel. Thank you for this article. Great information on copyrights. I’m new here and just have one question that I can’t seem to find the answer to anywhere. I’m self publishing a novel. I registered my mss with the copyright office and received my certificate in December 2013 – two weeks before the end of the year. Due to a hectic schedule, I’m just now ready to publish. Can I use 2014 on my copyright page to make the book current or do I have to use the year that I registered my copyright which would be 2013? Thanks again and I love your site!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 7, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Kimber, the standard practice is to publish the book first and then submit your copyright registration. If you had done that, your book would be © 2014. But since you’ve already registered it, you can’t change the copyright date just because you want to. :-(

    However, you can make it small and add a line like “First Edition 2014″ to the copyright page. That might help!

    Reply

    Kimber May 22, 2014 at 7:55 am

    Thanks Joel.

    Reply

    Bob May 20, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    I am self-publishing a novel. I cannot seem to get the copyright page to be the verso of the title page. I am working in Word. How do I accomplish this? Thanks.

    Reply

    Bella June 12, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Mr. Joel,
    I’m working on a new book, and I wanted to use song titles, lyrics, already copyrighted things. If I do not know the owner and am not able to get permission, is there any way that I can cite that the material does”t belong to me? Would that go on the copyright page?
    Thanks.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander June 12, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Ms. Bella,

    If you can’t get permission from the copyright owners, I strongly advise you to not use the content since you will open yourself to legal action against you.

    Reply

    Roger June 12, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Hello Bella,

    If the material is still under copyright, you cannot use it without the owners permission. You will have to find the owner and get permission, if you cannot then you must not use it in your book.

    Reply

    Bella June 12, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Mr. Joel,

    to my prior question about copyrighted material, what if it is something like the title of a song, but is also used as a quote by someone else? May I use it if that is the case?
    Thanks.

    Reply

    Ingrid Lundahl June 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    I am self-publishing a photo book.

    Is it true that a self-publisher cannot get an LCCN number? Only publishing houses can?

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander June 16, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    No, you can participate in the Library of Congress’ PCN program, details are here: LOC PCN Program

    Reply

    Richard June 29, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Joel, I am going to POD from a previously published book and am not sure how to indicate this on the ISBN page. It will be the first reprint and I don’t want to change the information every time. Is there a generic form to use? I was thinking “Subsequent reprints begin 2014″ but don’t feel that will be adequate in a few years. Thanks for your help.

    Reply

    Roger June 29, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Hi Richard,

    From what I have seen around, here are my thoughts. You will republish a book, which means a new copyright page and ISBN or are you just going to reprint of your book, with no changes? I have republished a couple of books. If you are changing details, design, text, images etc from the original maybe then its a new book. If you are just doing a reprint only, it seems nowadays nobody worries about adding the new year each time. Eg. “Published 2012″ “Reprinted 2014″, “Reprinted 2015″.

    Maybe Joel has different thoughts on this?

    Reply

    Sean Motis July 18, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    How would I go about getting my book published without too much hassle? I am currently working on finishing a poetry book I have been working on the past 4 years and would like to have it published.

    Reply

    Roger July 19, 2014 at 3:34 am

    Well there are two ways to publish, go to a publishing company or do it yourself? Are you expecting to make money from your book?

    Try some publishing companies, see if they are interested?

    Otherwise you can do it youself. Softcover or hardcover, what size? You will need to format and have it print ready. Then go to a book printer, print run, 500, 1,000? Then see if the bookstores will sell it.

    Reply

    Sean Motis July 19, 2014 at 3:39 am

    Thank you. I was mainly just looking to get 20 copies made for friends of mine.

    Reply

    Roger July 19, 2014 at 3:48 am

    Ok, only 20 copies, its easy enough, just go to those POD web sites, they can be setup and small numbers printed.

    Reply

    Sean Motis July 19, 2014 at 3:49 am

    Thanks!

    Reply

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