How to Publish Yourself in the UK
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How to Publish your book


So the book is at the printers and you have a week or so to start the process of publishing proper. Before you can really start to market your book there are a few things you need to do.

Registering your book

To complete the publishing process you are required to provide a copy of your new book to the Legal Deposit Office of the British Library, within one month of publication. Send the copy to:

Legal Deposit Office
The British Library
Boston Spa
West Yorkshire
LS23 7BY

Tel: 01937-546268
Fax: 01937-546176

The deposit regulations of the Copyright Acts 1911 and 1963, with slightly different conditions, apply also to the other five legal deposit libraries:

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

You should put 5 more copies in a single package and send them to:

Copyright Libraries Agency
100 Euston Rd
Tel: 020-7388-5061

Some time later you will receive a receipt. Your books will now be lodged for all time and become part of our British heritage!

The next job is to make sure your book is known about within the book trade. There are basically three places you should log it's existence; Whitakers, Book Data and Bibliographic Data Services Limited (BDS). The first two supply all the bookshops - both high street and online varieties, with the details of all books in print. It is free to submit your information as they charge the bookshops to subscribe to updates. Since it can take a while - a month or two - to be listed on the current CDs they send out, you should submit your data as soon as you have decided on a publication date.


Apart from running the ISBN Agency, Whitaker also provide a number of other useful services to the publisher. First they provide bibliographic data to bookshops and second they provide a nifty ordering service to bookshops that can deliver orders right to your door or fax machine (more later).

As soon as you can - you should provide all the confirmed details about your new book to Whitakers. You can do this online via their PubWeb service. You can set up a 30 day trial account for free which will enable you to enter all the details they will need. This information will be required several times by various companies, so you may want to set up a document on your computer with the following info in it. Just complete the lines with your answers:

Publication date:
Publisher Name:
# Pages:
# Illustrations::
Short Description:
Long Description:
Author bio:

All this info and probably more will be required by these companies and many online bookshops.

Book Data

Book Data offer the same service as Whitaker but currently they compete with each other (see note below on their merger). Currently, some shops use one and some use the other. So basically you need to repeat the exercise above on a systems called BD Connect. There was a free trial for that one too which gives you long enough to get all the data listed yourself.


BDS seem to have joined up with Bookdata, but it looks like it's still worth submitting your data to them as they make it very easy via their online form which you can print off and fax.

All three companies will allow you to send them an image of the cover of your book. This is very important as it is used to provide all the online bookshops - like - with a picture of your book for their website. Do this when you submit your initial data if possible as it seems to take ages for images to catch up with the rest of your book's data if you do it afterwards.

most online bookshops will also allow you to submit images and other data directly so look at their websites for more info on how to do that.

Book Data and Whitaker merger

Recently, Whitakers and Book Data have merged to become one company. In October 2002 they were still in the process of working out the details of the merger from a publishers point of view and recommended that the instructions for Whitakers and Book Data above are followed for the time being. Presumably in the future there will be a single process which will provide the data to all bookshops, whichever company they originally purchased their data from.

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