What should go on the publishing details of a book?
The publishing details for a book are usually printed on the back of the half title or, in some cases, the title page. This page is sometimes called the ‘copyright page’ or the ‘publishing details page’. What you decide to put there is up to you; there are many self-published books that lack a publishing details page. Sometimes publishers or authors put the copyright page at the end of an ebook so it does not get in the way of getting started with reading. We do not recommend this because then the app’s automated book review links are less likely to be seen.
The instructions that follow are a suggestion only. Not only does a publishing details page make your self-published book look more professional, it is also the best way to ensure anyone with a legal interest in your book will have the information they need. This might include someone who wants to sell your book, quote from your book, or contact the author for some other legal purpose.
The main things that need to be included on a book publishing details page are the copyright notice, the edition number, the publisher’s name, where and when the book was published, the printer’s name, the ISBN, library data, the rights assertion, the reservation of rights, and disclaimer if necessary.
Copyright notice and rights assertion
The copyright notice is simply the ‘©’ symbol, followed by your name and/or company name, and the year. The author should also declare their moral right in this publication. Often it is as simple as ‘the moral right of the author has been asserted’. Moral rights are a particular kind of right owned by authors no matter who owns the copyright. For example, if you write a book or article for your employer, the employer will own the copyright, but they are legally required to include your name in any marketing and publication of the work, as you will still own moral rights.
The edition number refers to how many versions of the book have been published. This isn’t applicable when publishing the first version of your book. If you were publishing your second version, you would need to state that it was the second version, and detail when the first version was published. This lets all concerned with your book’s production, and the booksellers and readers, be aware of what edition they are working on, selling or reading.
Publisher or imprint
Include the publisher’s name or imprint and when and where the book was published. In traditional publishing, this means the publishing company, the year they published the work, and where their office is located. Additionally, their logo may be included. In self-publishing you might be just using your own name so you don’t need to write anything in for publisher. See article ‘What publishing brand should I use when I self-publish my book?’ for more on this.
The printer’s name should not be included unless you have an agreement with the printer that requires you to do so. For many self-published books the printer may be a print-on-demand service so it is up to you if you wish to divulge this information on your publishing details page or not. For those writer’s publishing directly to ebook, a printer is not usually involved.
The ISBN refers to the ‘International Standard Book Number’. The thirteen digits label a book by its title, edition, format, publisher and author. An ISBN is recommended to sell a book via multiple vendors. The ISBN allows a bookseller to keep their databases and products organised. ISBNs are also important because they ensure that publishers are paid correctly for the sales of their books. At PMBO, we use ISBNs to publish books, as they are essential to how our Royalties Dashboard operates.
In most countries the national library collects copies of books and, in some cases, assigns data to the book to help librarians correctly identify and catalogue the books. In Australia, this is called CIP (Catalogue-in-Publication). The data includes the author, title, edition, ISBN, notes, subjects, other authors/contributors, blurb, format and a dewey decimal number.
The CIP is a record, which the National Library of Australia keeps about your book. The dewey decimal number refers to how libraries catalogue their books. Books with a CIP can be searched via the National Library of Australia and through Trove. It is not compulsory to include library data in the publishing details of books published in most countries. In Australia, for example, you can simply write ‘A catalogue-in-publication entry is available from the National Library of Australia’ and make the submission to them. You don’t need to insert the data they send back into the publishing details page.
Reservation of rights assertion
How is the work allowed to be used? For many fiction books, it may explicitly state that all the rights are reserved and that no part of the publication may be reproduced, stored, or reproduced without the prior written permission of the copyright owner and the publisher.
For educational books, however, the rights may be reserved, except as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968, which allows for a chapter or a maximum of 10% of the total pages to be reproduced by educational institutions for educational purposes. This allows educators to work in conjunction with the Copyright Agency Limited and the publisher, to utilise copyrighted work where required.
A disclaimer often advises the reader that the author and publisher take no responsibility for any errors, omissions, or contradictions which may exist in the book.
If this seems like a lot to consider on top of everything else you are working on, then contact us, and we can publish your book for you and take care of these elements.
You may also be interested in
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- What companies should I register my new book with?
- What publishing brand should I use when I self-publish my book?
- What should go on the publishing details page of my book?
- What is front matter and back matter?
- How do I maintain creative control over my book?
- How to avoid the self-published look
- How long will it take?
- How do I get my book published?