Legal Deposit for Self-Published (And Other) Authors

Yesterday evening, I met up with an old friend (who is also an author) for dinner. Inevitably the conversation touched upon writing and I asked whether my friend had provided print copies of his novel to the British Library and the 5 other libraries as stipulated under Legal Deposit legislation. He was unaware of Legal Deposit as (I believe) are quite a few other authors. I therefore thought it would be helpful to furnish the below information pertaining to Legal Deposit.

In the below extract, the British Library refer to the duty on publishers to furnish copies of publications to the designated libraries. In the case of most (perhaps all) self-published authors (including both my friend and I) this duty does, in practice devolve on us as authors who utilise Print on Demand or (POD) technology.

Introduction to legal deposit

Legal deposit has existed in English law since 1662. It helps to ensure that the nation’s published output (and thereby its intellectual record and future
published heritage) is collected systematically, to preserve the material for the use of future generations and to make it available for readers within
the designated legal deposit libraries.

By law, a copy of every UK print publication must be given to the British Library by its publishers, and to five other major libraries that request it.
This system is called legal deposit and has been a part of English law since 1662.

From 6 April 2013, legal deposit also covers material published digitally and online, so that the Legal Deposit Libraries can provide a national archive
of the UK’s non-print published material, such as websites, blogs, e-journals and CD-ROMs.

The Legal Deposit Libraries are:

list of 6 items
• the British Library,
• the National Library of Scotland,
• the National Library of Wales,
• the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford,
• the University Library, Cambridge, and
• the Library of Trinity College, Dublin.
list end

The legal deposit system also has benefits for authors and publishers:

list of 5 items
• Deposited publications are made available to users of the deposit libraries on their premises, are preserved for the benefit of future generations, and
become part of the nation’s heritage.
• Publications are recorded in the online catalogues, and become an essential research resource for generations to come.
• Most of the books and new serial titles are listed in the British National Bibliography (BNB), which is used by librarians and the book trade for stock
selection. The BNB is available in a variety of
formats.
• Publishers have at times approached the deposit libraries for copies of their own publications which they no longer have but which have been preserved
through legal deposit.
• Legal deposit supports a cycle of knowledge, whereby deposited works provide inspiration and source material for new books that will eventually achieve
publication.
list end

(Taken from http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/legaldeposit/introduction/)

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25 thoughts on “Legal Deposit for Self-Published (And Other) Authors

    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      You raise an interesting point Kate and one which also struck me. I dont know the answer. However I suspect that it may go back to the days when the whole of Ireland (not just the north) was part of the United Kingdom. If that is indeed the case, it is an interesting survival from a bygone age. Best, Kevin

      Reply
    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      Thanks for your comment. That is interesting. I understand that many countries have such legislation and I am in support of it on the grounds that it helps to preserve the literary heritage. On a personal level I am, of course delighted that my own work is being preserved. Kevin Virus-free. http://www.avast.com

      Reply
  1. Lucinda E Clarke

    I was told while in Alexandra, egypt that they would like a copy of every book ever printed – to build up a complete catelogue – replacing the one that was destroyed canturies ago when they held a copy of all publications.

    Reply
    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      Thank you for your comment. My understanding is that they want books published in the UK. I believe this would include books printed abroad (provided they are published by a UK-based publisher). I could, however be wrong and agree with you that it is not entirely clear. Best, Kevin

      Reply
    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      You are welcome. I’m pleased you found it helpful. My Username is Drew which derives from a former guide dog of mine, who sadly died unexpectedly in March 2011. However my name is Kevin (with most of my poetry appearing under the name K Morris). Kind regards, Kevin

      Reply
  2. Hugh's Views and News

    Am I right in thinking that all I need to do is to send a copy of my book to the British Library in London? With regards the other five legal deposit libraries, only send them a copy if they request one?

    Reply
    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      Thank you for your comment. My understanding accords with yours, namely that a copy must be sent to the British Library and the other 5 libraries will request copies. You may find this link useful, kind regards, Kevin. Thank you for your comment. My understanding accords with yours, namely that a copy must be sent to the British Library and the other 5 libraries will request copies. You may find this link useful, kind regards, Kevin. http://www.legaldeposit.org.uk/

      Reply
  3. Pingback: #IndieBookBanter Do You Know About … – Indie Book Banter

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