Legal Deposit

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A publisher is required by law to send a copy of every book (print and, since 2013, digital) they publish in the UK to the British Library.

How many copies do I have to send?

The British Library only requires one copy, although there are, of course, other copyright libraries in the UK, and they also aim to hold as near a complete record as possible. The other copyright libraries are:

  • National Library of Scotland
  • National Library of Wales
  • Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
  • Cambridge University Library
  • Trinity College Dublin Library

Most publishers choose to supply the British Library with one copy, and to supply the other five copies via the ALDL (Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries), who then send on the books to these other libraries.

Do I have to deposit future editions of the same title?

Guidance is usually that a publisher need not supply copies of reprints unless they’re substantially different and have a new ISBN. Once you have a relationship in place you will be able to ask your liaison officer if you have specific questions.


Last updated: 30th September 2023
Author(s): Will Dady, Renard Press