Copyright Page Requirements for Books Printed Overseas

POSTED ON Nov 12, 2009

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

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By Joanne Bolton welcomes our first guest author, Joanne Bolton. She brings to this subject many years of expertise in printing books overseas for American publishers.

There are many things required on the copyright page of a book, and these are well documented, but what some self publishers don’t know is that they are required to say, in certain circumstances, where the book is printed.

The rules are very specific for this. In fact, the only country that doesn’t need to appear on the copyright page is the United States of America. One can safely assume that if no country appears, then the book is printed in the USA.

Customs Have Requirements

Customs wants the consumer to know if a book, and in most cases other tangible goods, are manufactured in another country. They feel the consumer has the right to know, and with that knowledge determine whether or not they want to buy that product.

The rules, in the case of book manufacturing, are that the words “Made in Korea,” or “Printed in China” or something similar must be set in the same size type as the address of the publisher. Not the same size type as the publisher’s name, which might be in bold, and larger, but the address that usually appears underneath the name.

This piece of information should also be close to the publisher’s address, so that the consumer is not misled into assuming the address of the publisher is also the manufacturing address.

You might think if there’s no address given for the publisher that you are free to omit the country of manufacture. But that would be a terribly risky assumption. You may be able to reduce the font size a point or two without the address of your publishing company, but you should have your business information on the copyright page in any case.

There’s no reason not to give your address and contact information, your web address, and so on, on the copyright page where 99.9% of interested people look to find that information.

Be Kind to the Customs Inspectors

Customs inspectors have hopelessly thankless jobs. If they have to search around for some 6 pt type saying “Printed in Ecuador” along the gutter they are not going to be happy campers. Once riled, who knows what other infringements they might discover.

One good thing is that if your printer has his office in Hong Kong you can say your book is printed in Hong Kong. How are you to know exactly where the printer prints your book? And Hong Kong is where most of the printers started out under British authority. And it is definitely not China, even today.

If you don’t comply, your books are impounded, you are fined, and the books are not released until some sort of sticker is applied to them. It has never happened to me, but I have heard that when it does happen, you can forget the season in which you were hoping to launch your book, because it will be late. And that fact you were trying to minimize—that your book was printed overseas—will be prominently stickered and sticking out like a sore thumb.

Joanne at a press check at an art printer in Shenzhen, China

Joanne at a press check at an art printer in Shenzhen, China

Joanne Bolton has been printing calendars and books overseas for more than twenty-five years, first in South Korea, then in Hong Kong and China. She began her career with Toppan Printing Company, a prestigious Japanese printer. Her years with Toppan gave her the knowledge to become an independent printing broker.

Although at one point Joanne worked with very large calendar companies, she began to specialize in coffee-table books for independent publishers. She is a photographer herself and enjoys working directly with photographers and artists. Be sure to check her out at the Bolton Printing website.

Self-Publisher's-Quick-Easy-Guide-CopyrightWant 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.

Joel Friedlander

Written by
Joel Friedlander

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