What goes on your copyright page? A guide for self-publishers

What goes on your copyright (or imprint) page?

Open up any professionally published book. On page 1 you’ll see the title. On the flipside, you’ll see a bunch of scary legal information – copyright symbols, disclaimers, ISBNs, Dewey numbers, publisher details and more. This is your book’s copyright page, or imprint page.

If your book is being published by a traditional publisher, or if you’re working with an end-to-end self-publishing company, it magically happens. You send off your content, they wave their magic wands and ‘poof!’ You have a completed book!

But what if you’re doing it yourself? What do you need to include on your copyright page to make your book look professional and, more importantly, to protect your intellectual property?

The good thing is that it doesn’t need to be that complicated – there are only a few elements that must be on your copyright page. Everything else is optional.

Not to be missed: What MUST be on your copyright page

The first element that needs to be on your copyright page is the copyright (I know that statement is eye-roll worthy, but it had to be said).

Your copyright includes the copyright symbol, your name as the copyright holder, and your book’s year of publication. These elements are presented like this:

© Jacqui Pretty, 2021

The second element is a statement reserving your rights as the copyright holder to reproduce the work (in other words, no one can copy your stuff without your permission). This can be as simple as:

All rights reserved.

Optional extras: How to make your copyright page look all professional and fancy

Other common elements on the copyright page include:

  • Reservation of rights: Expanding on the previous ‘All rights reserved’ statement, you might have some more explanation about fair use of your work, such as references made in a review, or in someone’s essay.
  • The edition of the book: If you release later editions of your book, you would indicate the current edition on the copyright page.
  • Cataloguing-in-publication information: In Australia you can register your book with the National Library of Australia (note, you can’t do this until you’ve gotten an ISBN) and they’ll give you a swathe of new information to include, such as the subjects your book falls under and your Dewey number. This all arrives in an email and can be copied and pasted onto your copyright page.
  • Contributor credits: You can include the details of your editor, your designer, your printer, your illustrator, and any other suppliers who helped produce your book.
  • Disclaimer: If your book is a how-to book, like most of our clients’ books it’s prudent to include a disclaimer about your content being general in nature and not representing professional advice.

Larger publishers may also include information about trademarks they hold and may have numbers across the bottom of the copyright page indicating the number of printings the book has undergone.

So what’s applicable for your book?

As a self-publishing author, all you really need is the copyright notice and the ‘All rights reserved’ statement. However, if you want to fill out the page, pick the additional elements that are most suitable for your book and your genre.

Or, if you’d like to nick our copyright page template.

And find more Book Copyright Page Examples for your eBook on Kindlepreneur.com.

Ladis Sosa - April 27, 2018

Very useful info, as I’m publishing for the very first time!

Maryanne Wallace - November 15, 2018

Thank you! So handy to know

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