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FAQs: ISBNs, copyrights and general publishing legal issues

by Vervante •

Some of the most common questions we hear are about ISBNs, Library of Congress Control Numbers (LCCNs) and other legalities that come into play with publishing. Here is a quick list of FAQs and answers that will help you gain a basic understanding as you prepare to publish your next project.

Q: What is an ISBN and do I need to have one?

A: If you plan on retail distribution for your book, such as on Amazon or in bookstores, yes, you will need an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). The most important identifier your book can have is the ISBN. ISBNs provide unique identification for books and simplify the distribution of your books throughout the global supply chain. Without an ISBN, your book will not be found in bookstores, whether online or down the street from your house. You can buy your own at, or purchase one at a low cost from Vervante – Just log into your Author Account and click on “Purchase ISBN.” Note: If you purchase your ISBN through Vervante, you are the sole owner of that number and Vervante retains no rights to it.

Q: Are there steps I can take to protect my book legally?

A: Yes, Copyright registration is important and a simple task you should do as soon as your book is complete. For more details and to register your book, go to

Q: What about a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)?

A: The LCCN is a unique identification number that the Library of Congress assigns to book titles. There is no charge for registering your book with the Library of Congress. You can complete the Application to Participate online and you will receive an account and password. Once your book is complete, you can send a copy of the book to the Library of Congress at: Library of Congress, Cataloging in Publication Division 101, Independence Ave. SE, Washington, DC, 20540-4320. The website is at

Q: Who owns the rights to my book?

A: When you self-publish with Vervante, you benefit from our unique system in which you simply grant us the rights to print and distribute the book on your behalf. Our contracts with authors are non-exclusive. This arrangement is rare in the publishing world and is very much to your benefit as the author. You retain all rights as the sole owner of your book. Period.