Depositing your book with the National Library of Australia
If you’re an Australian who has self-published a book or is planning on self-publishing a book, you must deposit your book with the National Library of Australia (NLA). Not only are you required to, but you’re also legally obligated to deposit all print books and ebooks.
You’re probably wondering what is involved in depositing your book with the National Library of Australia. Don’t worry. If you’re an Australian author, we will cover the depositing process in detail in the following article.
In the following article we’ll cover:
- Is it compulsory to submit my book to the National Library of Australia?
- How do I submit my book to the National Library of Australia?
- What if I’m only creating an ebook, not a paperback or hardcover?
- What if I’m using a self-publishing service, hybrid/vanity publisher, or traditional publisher to publish my book?
- Do I need to deposit my book with my state or territory library as well?
- How much does it cost to submit your book to the NLA?
Is it compulsory to submit my book to the National Library of Australia?
The simple answer here is yes. Regardless of how you publish your book, ebook or paperback, once you assign an ISBN and publish your book, you must submit a copy to the National Library of Australia by law.
However, the police aren’t going to come and knock on your door if you forget. So don’t panic, and just make sure that you add it to your to-do list.
The NLA will hold a copy of your book in perpetuity. You never know. In a hundred years, your descendants could go on a search and discover your book!
Another benefit of depositing your book is an additional layer of copyright protection. While it isn’t a copyright registration, it will establish when your book was published and received and establish a timeline of its existence. If you want to learn more about copyright protection for your book, visit the Copyright Agency.
How do I submit my book to the National Library of Australia?
One. The Prepublication Process
The first step is to list your book via the National Library of Australia (NLA) Prepublication Data Service before you publish or release your book. Now, don’t do this a year before you plan on publishing in case you change your mind about the title or details of your book. Once your book has been edited and formatted and the cover is designed, you don’t plan on changing anything significantly; you can consider the Prepublication Process.
This process is open to both ebooks and paperbacks.
Some of the things the NLA will ask you include:
- Your name.
- Your email address.
- Your publisher’s name (business name).
- Your imprint name.
- What publishing category do you fall in (self-published/traditionally published).
- Book details include title, subtitle, ISBN, format, estimated retail price, format, your expected publication date, genre, subject, author, and any other contributors.
So, what are the benefits of adding your book to the NLA’s Prepublication database? Assuming you want people to buy and read your book, getting more eyes on it is a big part of the marketing process. Adding your book to the NLA Prepublication database means that your book information will be sent to thousands of Australian libraries and the companies that supply those books with libraries.
As an Australian author, you’re under no legal obligation to use the NLA’s Prepublication Data Service. You can learn more about the NLA’s PDS here, including if you’re looking to answer the question, ‘Is my book eligible for the National Library of Australia PDS?’
Two. The Post-Publication Process
Once you have a physical copy of your book in your hand, it’s time to get on with the process of carrying out the legal deposit.
Don’t forget to add the NLA cataloguing statement to your book’s copyright page. You can download it here. It’s a good idea to order an extra copy for the NLA and one for your state or territory library simultaneously. Check out this link to determine your obligations based on which state or territory you published your book in.
Regardless of whether you’re publishing an ebook, paperback, hardcover, or all three formats, all the information for submitting your book to the NLA is available here.
What if I’m only creating an ebook, not a paperback or hardcover?
Even if you’re only self-publishing an ebook, you’re still obligated to submit a copy to the NLA via their online portal. In fact, digital copies are their preferred format. It makes it a lot easier to store the thousands of books Australian authors publish every year.
The NLA prefers digital copies of books, and during the submission process, you can select what level of access you want to give to readers. This is important because if your ebook is enrolled in programs such as Amazon Kindle Unlimited, you don’t want to risk violating your digital distribution contract with them.
You can switch the access to your ebook from ‘Openly on the Internet’ to ‘Onsite only within the National Library and applicable State/Territory libraries.’ If you choose onsite only, it means that people can only view the item at the location and not download or print it.
At Author Services Australia, we don’t purchase ISBNs on behalf of authors, so you’ll need to take care of your NLA obligations yourself. However, some vanity or hybrid publishers that purchase ISBNs on behalf of authors will also take care of the NLA requirements.
If you’re an Australian author and want to learn more about ISBNs, check out this article Do I Need An ISBN In Australia? It covers everything you need to know about purchasing an ISBN, what ISBNs are, and why you need ISBNs for your book.
If you’re lucky enough to land yourself a traditional publishing deal with a publishing company, they should take care of your NLA obligations on your behalf.
Do I need to deposit my book with my state or territory library as well?
As we mentioned above, it’s a good idea to order an extra copy for the NLA and one for your state or territory library at the same time. Check out this link to determine what your obligations are based on which state or territory you published your book in.
Not all states and territories require you to submit a copy of your book to the library.
How much does it cost to submit your book to the NLA?
Nothing, except the cost of printing the book and shipping it to the National Library of Australia. If you’re sending them a digital or ebook, it will cost you nothing at all. Another reason why submitting a digital copy makes sense.
The National Library of Australia and Australian Self-Published Author Requirements – Conclusion
There you go! Everything Australian self-published authors and writers need to know about the National Library of Australia and how to submit a copy of your ebook or paperback.
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