Copyright and ISBN Information

Copyright, ISBNs and CIP data can often seem to be confusing and convoluted topics to tackle. Here is some information to help you complete these steps on your own.

Copyright in Canada

It’s in your best interest as an author and self-publisher to protect the copyright of your book. Blitzprint strongly recommends that you consult a lawyer experienced in entertainment or intellectual property matters, as the laws governing copyright vary among countries in which your book may be sold. A lawyer can help secure your claim to copyright, which protects you in the event of infringement to your intellectual property. Dealing with book copyright and printing can seem like a daunting task but Blitzprint simplifies the process for you.

Copyright law is complex no matter where you live and publish. In Canada, authors and publishers can take a variety of steps to register book copyright. The choices depend on how far you want to go to ensure the intellectual property claim to your book.

The simplest way to prove ownership is to send your manuscript to yourself by registered mail. Be sure to leave the package unopened once you receive it. In the event of a dispute, you can reasonably prove before a court that you were the author of the work at least at the time the package was mailed. If you feel you need greater legal protection, we recommend that you speak with a lawyer experienced in intellectual property.

We also recommend that you investigate the Canada Intellectual Properties Office at Industry Canada.

For helpful information on what to include on your book’s copyright page, please check out this Industry Canada advice.

Back to Top

ISBNs in Canada

An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) identifies a title and its publisher. ISBNs are issued by individual agencies in each country that adheres to the standard. In the United States, you can acquire your number through In Canada, ISBNs can be acquired through Library and Archives Canada.

You’re under no obligation to get an ISBN; however, marketing your book will be difficult without one, as industry sales and distribution systems depend on them.

To receive ISBNs in Canada, authors and publishers must join the Canadian ISBN Service System (CISS), which is run by the National Library of Canada. It’s simple and free to sign up. You can register through the CISS website, which is their preferred method. If you don’t have Internet access, you can contact them at:

Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON
Tel: (819) 994-6872
Fax: (819) 997-7517

ISBN Tips for Authors

If you’re formatting your own book, the ISBN should be printed on both inside on the copyright page and outside in the bottom right-hand corner of the back cover. The font size should be between 9 and 12 points. Dust jackets should contain the ISBN on the upper edge of the left-hand flap. Make sure the ISBN is also printed on the label of any accompanying products, such as a disk—and remember that each edition of your work should be assigned its own ISBN.

In fact, each edition of your title (hardcover, softcover, ebook) should have its own ISBN number. Significant changes to the cover should also include a new ISBN.

Back to Top

CIP Data

Canadian self-publishers should also consider registering their cataloging in publication (CIP) data. This is a voluntary program of cooperation between publishers and libraries, and a free service in Canada. Coordinated by Library and Archives Canada, the program catalogues your book before it is published, and promptly distributes the cataloguing information to booksellers and libraries.

CIP data registration not only boosts awareness of your work among booksellers and libraries, it also provides important copyright information. You’ll be issued a registration number and date, which, when printed as part of your book’s copyright page, are valuable evidence of your copyright claim. The registration process is complete once you print your book and submit samples for archiving in the CIP system.

CIP data can only be applied for if your print run is over 100 books. If your initial print run is under 100 books, you will have to wait until you order more than 100 books to register and receive the data.

CIP Data placement

If you’re formatting your book, place the CIP data on the copyright page only, according to the instructions you receive on registration.

Back to Top

Library and Archives

After your first print run is complete, it is important at this point that you send in copies of your book to Library and Archives Canada. If you registered for an ISBN only, then you will need to send in one book, but if you also registered for your CIP data, you will need to send in two books. They use these books to confirm that final information that you had provided for your book, and to finish the registration process. This is also true with other media forms of your book, such as eBooks, tapes, etc. Anything that has its own ISBN/CIP information.

In order to submit your books, you will need to download and fill out the necessary form. This form must be included with your books when you send them in, whether they be physical copies, or electronic copies.

Back to Top