What To Include On Your Book’s Copyright Page

copyright page

Do you have questions about how to assemble your book’s copyright page? Here’s a breakdown of what information you should include and how you should present it.

Many self-published authors find the book copyright page to be one of the more daunting and confusing pages of their front matter — and indeed the entire book — but there’s no reason to be intimidated. This post explains the elements of the copyright page so you can concentrate on the more exciting elements of self-publishing.

First things first, you do not need to register your book with the United States Copyright Office to include a copyright page. Once you’ve fixed your content in a permanent format, you own the copyright and have all the rights and copyright protection under the law. Now, there are reasons why you should register and copyright your book — enjoying the full weight and reach of the law if you end up in court, for one — but you can, and should, include a copyright page in your creative work, registered or not. (You can find more information about copyrights on the US Copyright Office website’s FAQ page.)

The book formatting for the copyright page is usually the verso (back) of the title page. Traditionally, the copyright page content is either centered, starting half-way down the page, or justified on the left margin. If you do an Internet search for “copyright page samples,” you’ll see a wide variety of formats employed. You can list the information in the order listed here, but I could find no single template that defines the order in which this information needs to be presented.

The copyright page can include some or all of the following information:

  • Copyright notice
  • ISBN
  • Rights and permissions
  • Disclaimer
  • Edition information
  • Design, production, editing, illustration credits
  • Publisher’s address
  • Ordering information
  • Trademark notices
  • Author website
  • Country in which the book was printed
  • Environmental notices

Copyright notice

This is one absolute requirement of a copyright page. The copyright notice includes:

  • The copyright symbol (©) or the word “copyright”
  • The year of first copyright
  • The copyright holder’s name or identifier

A typical copyright notice will look like this:
© 2019 Andre Calilhanna or Copyright 2019 Andre Calilhanna

You’ve probably seen copyright listings with multiple years, which represent the years different editions of the work were published:
© 2015, 2017, 2019 Andre Calilhanna

If you’re using a pseudonym, you can list that on your copyright page, but be sure that you include both your real name and pseudonym when registering the work with the US Copyright Office.


The International Standard Book Number, or ISBN, is a 13-digit* numeric identifier that is used worldwide by bookstores, publishers, and everyone in the publishing industry. If you want to sell your book in stores or online, you will need an ISBN, which you should include on your copyright page.

*ISBNs assigned before 2007 had 10 digits.

When you publish your book through BookBaby, you can purchase an ISBN for your eBook and printed versions. If you prefer to purchase this directly from Bowker — the company responsible for ISBNs in the United States — you can go to ISBN.org or myidentifiers.com.

Rights and permissions

Technically, you do not need to spell out rights and permissions, as your copyright notice serves to let readers know you reserve the right to limit the use of the content as you please. That said, “fair use” means people can reprint, post online, or cite passages from your original work when reviewing the book or using copy as an example for an academic argument, etc. But many publishers and self-published authors choose to include phrases like:

All rights reserved.


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 [include publisher/author contact info].

What you include is up to you.


In an effort to protect yourself from a lawsuit, if your fiction book includes resemblances to real-life people or situations, you might include a disclaimer along the lines of:

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Nonfiction works can also include disclaimers. For example, memoirs can include wording that suggests some of the names have been changed to protect the identities of certain characters in the story.

And while we’re on the subject of disclaimers, we are not offering legal advice here — any legal concerns and specific language should be directed to a copyright attorney.

Edition information

Whether or not the edition information is included on other pages (the title page, for instance), it should appear here. You just need a simple line of text that states that this is the First Edition, Second Edition, Third Edition, etc. (This can also be written as 2nd Edition, 3rd Edition.)

Design, production, editing, and illustration credits

While the book acknowledgements section of your front matter can express gratitude for assistance and inspiration in the creation of your book — including listing the designers, editors, illustrators, cover designer, and various other people who contributed to the work — they may also be listed here.

Publisher’s address

Copyright pages in books published by traditional publishers will include the name of the publisher, address (sometimes just the city), and URL. If you’re self-publishing, you can include your name or create a name for your imprint along with an address and URL, if you choose.

Ordering information

If the book is published by a large publisher, the copyright page might also include ordering information — including specific info for quantity sales, textbooks, and orders by trade bookstores or wholesalers.

Trademark notice

Trademark notices for names and logos of the publishing company or its imprint are copyrighted material and might be included on a copyright page.

Author website

Including your author website URL on the copyright page is a good idea, especially for self-published authors.

Country in which the book was printed

For books printed outside of the US, it’s best to include a line that states where the book was produced (e.g., Printed in Canada). If the book was printed in the USA, you could print that as well, though not including it presumes that the book was printed in the US.

Environmental notices

The copyright page can include statements touting the environmental consciousness of the product (e.g. Printed on SFI Certified Paper).

Sample Copyright Page copy #1Sample Copyright Page copy #2
A concise copyright page might look something like this:A longer copyright page might look something like this:

Copyright Page Sample 1
Click to download.

copyright page sample #2
Click to download.

Your path to self-publishing


  1. Thank you that was really helpful. I have written my first short children’s book and I’m finding it really daunting to self publish with KDP. I now understand a few more things I need to know.

  2. Of course, none of this advice will stop the dedicated thief from stealing your work. I know; its happened to me several times. The bottom line is that any copyright, trademark, patent, or any other form of legal protection is only as good as the time and $ you are willing to put up to enforce that protection.

  3. Wow. I’ve been looking for this information for such a long time. I’ve published academic works but this is different. So, thank you Andre for the insights shared here and making it available for free. Awesome.

  4. My book was originally published by a mainstream publisher in New York. The copyright and permissions were returned to me after they closed and I am self-publishing the ebook and print editions of the updated book (new Preface added, some edits).

    My question is, on the copyright page of the new edition published by my small publishing company, do I need to mention the previously published edition and that publisher? Or can I just put, for example, Published by…my publishing copy… First ..my publishing company…Edition.?

    Thanks so much!

  5. Thanks. Got me thinking ahead for the book i’m working on and to buy my own isbn for a couple of books where i got lazy and took on Amazon’s isbn numbers. Don’t do that.
    Brenda Drexler

  6. Hi–Helpful info. Thank you. One question. I printed my ebook four years ago. I am just about to release the paperback version. I understand I should give it a copyright year of 2021, not the copyright year for the ebook. Is this correct?

    Many thanks for any information.



    • That’s an interesting one, but I’d treat the eBook as a previous edition and list copyright years as 2017, 2021 (assuming the eBook was published in 2017).

  7. This is for Applejuice and whoever else has the question: “what do you put as the ‘printed in’ country on the copyright page for print-on-demand books through IngramSpark?”

    I had this exact same question too and it was driving me bonkers. Eventually I ordered a printed proof from IngramSpark, which gave me the answer straight away.

    IngramSpark had inserted an extra page at the back of the book which displayed their barcode plus the ‘Printed in’ country. In my case the text they inserted clearly stated ‘Printed in Australia’. This did not appear in the eProof (only in the printed proof) presumably because this changes country by country. This makes me think that for POD through IngramSpark we probably don’t need to add ‘Printed in’ on the copyright page, since IngramSpark takes care of this on the back page. I wish IngramSprk would be clearer about this… they don’t seem to have mentioned this in any of their documentation that I have found so far.

    Anyway hope this helps!

  8. Why in the USA do authors have to PURCHASE an ISBN whilst in other FREE COUNTRIES the ISBN is FREE? Can authors create their OWN FREE ISBN, for example, I have 200 writes since 2014 and have created the BID at no cost. (Book I D).

    Copyright pages have been around since 1790 so this is nothing new. What we need to address is costs, including that of ISBN in the USA.

    Further, registering a copyright is ludicrous unless you have lots of cash and time for the matter to be settled in the courts. It’s okay if your write is producting millions of dollars (example: Joe Biden’s net worth was $440,000 then he published his book increasing his net worth to $11 million. That’s the case where you register your copyright.) It is rare for someone to “steal” your write unless there is a potential to make a few million.

    If you’re an author in the USA you may want to join other authors and create your own ISBN free of charge like in other countries and make your voice heard.

    Val Amant

  9. has errors!

    you can copyright new versions not new editions
    but the unchanged text is only protected by the older original copyright

    you put the year of the current versions copyright and include previous ones to protect older material

  10. Just to let you know (I was a book printer), Verso means LEFT, not back. Nit-picking, I know, but it was my craft.

  11. Hi Andre, thanks a ton for sharing this significant piece of information with the audience. This article will be definitely useful for the authors who are looking forward to setting up the copyright page. Keep up the good work!!

  12. Great information, thank you for putting it all together.
    I have one stupid question I hope you can answer – it’s driving me crazy.

    If I self publish a book with a POD like IngramSpark, how do I know which country will publish my book so that I can put that country on the copyright page ? IngramSpark prints in America, Europe and other countries, depending in which country the person that is ordering the book lives in, IngramSpark will use the printer closest to the buyer – so my book could be printed in a few countries – how then can I chose one country on my copyright page?
    I’m really confused about this !

    Thanks in advance for any help in clarifying this for me.

  13. I’ve been publishing my own books since 1997 and once upon a time I knew it all, but this article revealed some shortcuts I’ve allowed to steal into my program. Thanks.
    I own Children’s book writers 5,123 member group on Linked in and I will be releasing a URL there linking back to this page. Thank you again.

  14. I have the rights of a previously published book returned to me by the publisher and I’m republishing as an ebook with a new cover and new ISBN. My question is do I need to include the year of the original copyright on the copyright page and if so, how? Thank you!


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