If you are new to the publishing industry, there are a few items you may need to assist you in marketing your book: an ISBN number; bar code; and copyright. In addition, we have information available for obtaining a Library of Congress Catalog Control Number (LCCN) and their Cataloging in Publication (CIP) program. To make your project easier we have provided a brief explanation for each of these items and the links to obtain the current application forms.

ISBN -International Standard Book Number

A book identification system has been devised to help merchants, wholesalers, distributors, individuals, and libraries locate the publisher for the books they wish to purchase. The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) system is administered by the ISBN Agency, which assigns publisher's prefix numbers that are unique to each company. The ISBN number consists of ten digits, which are separated into four parts of variable length. There is a fee to apply for a set of ISBN numbers, and it typically takes 10 business days for processing an application. The ISBN Agency has helpful information on their site and an electronic application form for your use. The form can also be downloaded for non-electronic submission.

Please note: when you use one of your ISBN numbers you must report the assignment to R.R. Bowker to be eligible for a free listing in various directories. This will assist people in finding your company in order to purchase the title. To register your title with R.R. Bowker's Books In Print, go to www.bowker.com.

Bar Codes

Bar codes - such as those used in supermarkets - are now used throughout the publishing industry and the ISBN number is the basis for the bar coding system. In publishing, the coding system is called the European Article Number (EAN) bar code. Bar codes are generated by computer software using the ISBN and the retail price of the book. Bar code artwork is placed in the lower right hand corner of the book's outside back cover. Patterson Printing can supply your bar code for a small fee or The ISBN Agency website lists numerous bar code suppliers whom you may choose to contact for your publication.


Original works of authorship, both published and unpublished, are protected under the Copyright law, a form of intellectual property law. In a book notice of copyright is typically placed on the verso (left) page following the full title page by means of the copyright symbol ©, or the word "Copyright", followed by the year of first publication and the name of the copyright owner. Example: © 2003 Patterson Books. Registration for copyright protection is recommended but not required. Under the 1976 Copyright Act copyright is automatic the moment the work is created, however if it is necessary to bring a lawsuit for infringement you must register. The United States has copyright agreements with most countries throughout the world, which extends your copyright protection to those counties. For works created after January 1, 1978 the duration of copyright protection extends 70 years after the author's death or for works created for hire the duration of the copyright is 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation. The copyright website has complete information regarding registration, fees, and frequently asked questions. Please be sure to view the site to answer all of your questions. http://www.loc.gov/copyright/

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the national depository for works published in the United States. Its mission is "to make its resources available and useful to Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations." Each book that is accepted into the Library of Congress collection is assigned a unique identification number. The Library of Congress number differs from an ISBN in that an ISBN is assigned to each edition of a book while the Library of Congress number is assigned to the work itself.

The Library of Congress number must be requested prior to the publication of the book so that the number can be printed on the copyright page. There are two different identification numbers available:

- the Preassigned Control Number (PCN) available to US book publishers;
- or the Catalog in Publication (CIP) number which has limited eligibility

(please see the Library of Congress website for details regarding both the PCN and CIP requirements) http://lcweb.loc.gov/loc/infopub/publish.html

Library of Congress - Preassigned Control Number

The Preassigned Control Number program assigns a Library of Congress Control Number (aka Library of Congress Card Number) to titles most likely to be acquired by the Library of Congress as well as some other categories of books. Publishers should write to:

Library of Congress Copyright Office
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, DC 20559
Email: copyinfo@loc.gov

For more information visit the Library of Congress Web site

You will receive your assigned number several weeks after sending in your form. Note that the first two digits of your number refer to the year in which the number was preassigned. There is no charge for this service. However, an advance complimentary copy of the book must be sent to the Library of Congress.

Library of Congress - Cataloging in Publication

The Library of Congress also offers a Cataloging in Publication (CIP) program for "established" publishers. In this context, "established" means having published three books. Participation in the CIP program enables you to print Library of Congress cataloging information on the copyright page of your book. This allows librarians to process new titles for library patrons more economically. For information on the CIP program visit the Library of Congress website, http://lcweb.loc.gov/loc/infopub/publish.html.