One question we hear a lot from our authors is about copyrights. We’ve written several articles about copyrighting books, fair use and permissions, and other legal matters when it comes to publishing, but we thought it would be helpful to talk about the copyright page in your book.
The copyright page is found at the front of the book, usually right after the title page. The format can be varied as there is no single accepted template for copyright pages. Just do a quick Google for copyright page samples and you’ll see. Generally, they will contain things like: copyright notice, ISBN, publisher information, contact information, rights and permissions, country book is printed in, author website, credits and disclaimers. Let’s review a few of these in more detail.
This is one absolute requirement of a copyright page. The copyright notice includes:
- The copyright symbol (©) or the word “copyright”
- The year of copyright
- The copyright holder’s name or identifier
A typical copyright notice will look like this: © 2020 Cindy Tyler
Copyrights can have multiple years listed if there are multiple editions: © 2016, 2018, 2020 Cindy Tyler
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 13-digit number used worldwide by the publishing industry and retailers to identify your book. If you plan to sell your book in stores or online, you must have an ISBN.
(You can buy your own at bowker.com or purchase one at a low cost from Vervante. If you purchase your ISBN through Vervante, you are the sole owner of that number and Vervante retains no rights to it.)
Rights and permissions
This is optional, but useful. Technically, your copyright serves to let people know that this is your protected work, however it can help with “fair use” issues to state limitations of how people can use your book’s content. A very simple statement can be: “All rights reserved.”
But a lot of people choose to include copy similar to this: “All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, contact (NAME / EMAIL /ADDRESS / ETC).
Whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, disclaimers are often included by authors on advice from their agents, publishers or lawyers as a way to add a layer of protection if the book’s characters resemble real-life people or situations, or if someone says the book’s content damaged their business, relationship, etc.
For fiction, you could write something like this: “This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.”
For a nonfiction advice, how-to or educational book, you could write something like this: “Although the author and publisher have made every effort to ensure that the information in this book was correct at press time, the author and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.”
For books that provide health, wellness, medical, fitness or similar content: “This book is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.”
[[For the record: We are not lawyers and we are not offering legal advice here — any legal concerns and specific language should be directed to a copyright attorney.]]
Other information we often see on copyright pages includes:
- Author website and contact information
- Name of publisher and publisher address
- Country in which the book was printed
- Credits for things like photos, design, illustrations, graphics, editing, etc.
If you have any questions about your book copyright page or any other step of the process – from editing to design to printing, production and sales, we’re here to help. Just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here for you!