Can Everton Jones find out how his father stole Emperor Bokassa’s diamonds and, more importantly, where he hid them; before the world and his brother get there first?
Click on the picture link in the sidebar to read an extract of my first novel, which was published by Paradise Press in August 2012.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

How to phrase the copyright declarations etc. in an e-book

A very important page in any book is the copyright declaration page. This is always on the back of the main title page in a print book (and so in publishing-speak is called the ‘full title verso’) and it should follow the main title page in an e-book as a separate chapter (see my earlier post on how to sequence your e-book).

Here is a list of the items which should be on the title page verso with an explanation of each and observations where the wording might be different in an e-book. The conventional sequence of the items is taken from New Harts Rules and follows UK (Oxford) style. Differences with Chicago (US) style have as far as possible been indicated. For clarity, the example text is shown in italics, but should of course be set in Roman in your e-book.

Publisher’s Imprint:

This should contain the publisher’s name, full postal address and place of publication:

example: Paradise Press, BM Box 5700, London WC1N 3XX.

It would seem sensible to follow this with a website address if there is one:


The code to make this into a hyperlink is:

<p class="prelims"><a href=""></a></p>

Although for e-books for sale on the Applestore, ANY hyperlinks to websites where the e-book is available for sale will cause the book to fail their exhaustive checking procedure, so I omit hyperlinks of this kind from ebooks which I send there.

date of publication:

If a first publication, then the following would seem appropriate:

example: First published in the United Kingdom in 2014

For a first publication the copyright date and publication date should normally be the same.

However an e-book version might come out at a later date than a paperback edition (or vice-versa). So some sort of modification would seem to be called for. Perhaps something along these lines:
example: First published in the United Kingdom as a paperback in 2012. This e-book edition published in 2014. (or something similar, depending on the circumstances)

Publishing History:

The above largely takes care of the publishing history, although in print books there is frequently an ‘impression line’ next, which details when the book has been reprinted. It is a cryptic line of numbers and tells the initiated which printing of the book it is. This is only relevant to print books, and the conventions are, frankly, rather complicated, so I would not bother with it, even in a print book. See New Hart’s Rules or the Chicago Manual of Style for more information. (Yes, you really do need to get a copy!)

For slightly different* versions of an e-book, you could have ‘version 1.0’, ‘version 1.1’ etc. instead of the impression line. (*For example you might have corrected a few typos you discovered after you went to print.) If you do use a version number, make sure it is included in the metadata as well (see a separate post on understanding and editing the metadata, to be published later). Bear in mind that a significantly different version of any book needs a second edition and a new ISBN.

Copyright Line:

To qualify for protection under the Universal Copyright Convention you should state your copyright on the title page verso in this form: copyright holder’s name and year of publication, preceeded by the copyright symbol:

example: © Rod Shelton 2012

NB to enter the copyright symbol, in code view, type the html entity code: &copy;.

Obviously the copyright declaration will need to be modified in some suitable way in books where more than one person has written the content. I would consult the copyright statement in a printed book with multiple auhors by a reputable publisher for a suitable example if in doubt how to do this.

I should add that if an e-book version comes out after a print version, the copyright pre-exists in the print version, and so I would have thought the copyright date would be that of the print book (and vice-versa if the publication order is reversed).

In print books, even ones with many authors, it is expected that the copyright declarations in their entirety should fit onto the title page verso (i.e. take up no more than one page). This can lead to some very small print, although I have seen some large anthologies with hunderds of contributions each of which had been previously published elsewhere in which this convention has had to be quietly dispensed with! Luckily, in an e-book, with no pages as such, this restriction is meaningless and you do NOT have to resort to smaller type.

Author Website:

If the author has a personal website, a link to that could usefully go after their name and copyright statement.


The code to make this into a hyperlink  is:

<p class="prelims"><a href=""></a></p>

Although my earlier observation about publishing on the applestore concerning hyperlinks remains. I recommend NOT inserting hyperlinks in ebooks sent to Apple, especially if the website linked to has sales links for the ebook in question.

Copyright Registration:

Strictly speaking it is not necessary to register the copyright of your book, as the copyright exists in the work the moment it is ‘fixed in tangible form’ (Chicago Manual of Style). And this is just as valid for e-books as for print books. Wherever you are I would advise keeping incremental, dated, backups of the text as you write, edit and polish it, as a precaution should you need to prove it was you who wrote your book. There is no registration of copyright as such in the UK. In the US, it would appear from the Chicago Manual of Style (see §4.49, 13th edition) that certain advantages arise from registering your copyright and it would seem advisable to do so. Probably the Library of Congress website is the best starting-point to find out how to do this.

Copyright Notices:

I am no legal expert on copyright. Perhaps the best thing to do (and what I did) is to copy what you will find in an e-book published by any major publishing house. This is what I put in mine (I forget which publisher I stolecopied it from!):

example: This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be an infringement of the author’s[*] and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

(*obviously make this agree in number by moving the apostrophe to fall after the final ‘s’ if there is more than one author!)

For good measure I also add:

example: This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or othewise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publishers prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition, including this condition, being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

And then to protect the wider rights (film, TV, translation, audio book, etc) of the book you need to add this:

example: All rights reserved.

Although I usually combine it with the following statement:

example: All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy or any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the publisher.

Assertion of Moral Rights:

In the UK, authors have certain ‘moral rights’ under the Copyright Act 1998. ONE of these, the ‘right to paternity’ (the right to be identified as the author of the work) does not exist unless it has been specifically exerted. And so, in the UK, it is necessary to include the following statement:

example: The moral right of Rod Shelton to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in acordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1998.

A shorter form might be:

example: The author’s moral right has been asserted.

This statement will need to be ammended if there are multiple authors and that’s a bugger because you need to get the agreement correct: ONE (moral) right but more than ONE author! I would suggest:

example: The moral right of each of the authors has been asserted.

A cursory scan through the Chicago Manual of Style suggests the author’s moral right in the USA is automatic and doesn’t require such a declaration. But I offer no cast iron guarrantee that this is so. If in the US I would recommend checking this!

Limitations on Sales:

There might be certain places where, for legal reasons, the e-book cannot be sold. You should mention these restrictions next.

Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) Data:

In the UK, the British Library creates a catalogue record from data you submit prior to publication. It used to be necessary to print a copy of this on the title page verso. However now it is only necessary to say that this information is available. Viz:

example: A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

It is possible to submit a CIP request for an e-book as well as for a print book. Although you should be aware that in both cases this has to be done in advance of the declared publication date. The CIP website will not allow you to do this after the book has been published. There is a way around this, but best to get it right and submit your application at the proper time. In the UK the website for this is here:

A cursory glance at the Chicago Manual of Style and a hunt through the Library of Congress website suggests the Library of Congress catalogue record in its entirety is still printed on the title page verso of US print books, neatly ensuring that the catalogue record has been generated before the book is printed! But this has NOT been done in the American e-books I have looked at. I would suggest it would be best practice to participate in the US CIP programme and to put the entire Library of Congress catalogue record on the title page verso of US e-books. A starting-point would seem to be here:


According to Hart, the ISBN properly belongs in the full British Library catalogue entry (see above). He does say that if the ISBN does not appear in the CIP catalogue entry statement it should be stated separately on the title page verso.

Chicago also says the ISBN should go on the title page verso of a print book, but doesn’t say where. Chicago goes on to say that in electronic publications the ISBN should appear ‘on the screen which displays the title or its equivalent or on the first display’. I scanned through some of the sample ebooks of my fellow finalists in the 2013 Lambda Literary Awards. None had the ISBN on the first screen or on the title page. All had it on the title page verso. Given that this is where a reader of a paperback would expect to find it, that is where I would suggest putting it, despite what it says in the Chicago Manual of Style. Although if the ISBN is quoted in the Library of Congress catalogue entry, then that would suffice.

Each version of a book requires a separate ISBN. So you need a different ISBN for each of the Kindle, epub and paperback versions of your book. In an ebook I put the ISBN of the particular edition on the title page verso somewhere near the top and then list the ISBNs of ALL the various versions after the CIP statement. In the print version I usually just print the ISBN below the CIP statement and follow it with another line to the effect that: ‘An e-book version of this book can be downloaded from [the publisher’s] website’.

If you do NOT already have a block of ISBNs then you are a new publisher. Basic information for new publishers about ISBNs in the UK can be had from here: which will direct you to email: to get registered and buy your ISBNs. (Only available in blocks of 10, 100, 200 and up in the UK.)

It is worth mentioning here that Kindles do not strictly speaking need an ISBN to be listed on the Kindle Store, but you WILL need an ISBN if you want the Kindle e-book to be entered in book trade databases and library catalogues. And all e-pub retailers will require an ISBN. If you do decide only to publish on the Kindle Store and elect NOT to get an ISBN, then you should enter the ASIN* in the metadata instead of the ISBN. More about this in a forthcoming post about entering metadata.

(*ASIN = ‘Amazon Standard Item Number’, which will be assigned to your e-book once it has been uploaded to the Kindlestore. You would then need to edit the ASIN into the metadata once the book has been listed on the Kindlestore and you know what ASIN has been assigned to it and then re-upload the modified file. The ASIN should not be changed by Amazon when the revised file is uploaded and there should be no interruption to the availability of your e-book on the Kindlestore.)

Statement Concerning Performing Rights:

If there are restrictions on the performing rights of your work, they should be entered next.

Printer Credit:

The printer of a physical book has the right to have their name and location printed on the title page verso. This is obviously not applicable to an e-book.

Other credits:

You will probably want to include a statement crediting the cover designer, etc. It is certainly a good idea to indicate where the artwork came from in such a way as to indicate you are allowed to use it.

example: Cover photograph: Michael Watson (reproduced with permission)
Cover design and typesetting: Rod Shelton


One frequently sees something like this on the title page verso:

example: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the authors imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments or locales is entirely coincidental.

Obviously a barefaced attempt to avoid libel proceedings! However this statement might not always be applicable, for instance if some actual people or places are in fact referenced or perhaps if the characters eat in a McDonald’s, or if yours is an historical book. Adapt such a statement accordingly or omit it and hope you don’t get sued! The Sainted Oscar’s famous comments on publicity could be appropriately mentioned in this connection!

In my case, as the locations in my book are real and as some of the characters are historical, and one is a thinly veiled reference to a former employer, I crossed my fingers and skipped this part.

Next Steps: Once you have created the preliminary matter, you will go on to create the end matter. This can be quite involved if you have extensive links to create. I will post on creating notes, the bibliography and an index in due course and will link them here when they are published. But I want to concentrate on the rest of the publication process now, so the next posts will cover how to create the tables of contents for your e-book, even though the end-matter, logically, needs to be completed before you make the contents.

Index to ‘how to …’ posts:

How to ‘unpack’ an epub file to edit the contents and see what’s inside.
How to understand what is inside an epub
How to link the html table of Contents in a Kindle e-book
How to restructure the html table of contents for a Kindle
How to delete the html cover for a Kindle ebook
How to link the cover IMAGE in a Kindle e-book
How to clean up your MS Word file before your get started
How to markup an MS Word file to identify the formats before importing it into an epub
How to create a new blank e-pub using Sigil
How to import your marked-up MS Word file into your ebook using Sigil
How to create and link a CSS stylesheet in an e-book using Sigil
How to replace the markup with CSS styles in your ebook using Sigil
How to style an e-book so it works with the limited CSS styling available to Kindle e-readers
How to understand the syntax of CSS
How to style Small Caps in an e-book
How to split your ebook up into chapters using Sigil
How to sequence your e-book
How to phrase the copyright declarations etc. in an e-book
How to generate the logical table of contents using Sigil
How to understand toc.ncx in an e-book
How to generate the html table of contents in an e-pub
How to style the html table of contents using CSS
How to create an html cover for your epub using Sigil
How to present references and notes in a book
How to use Mark Up to link notes in your e-book
How to present a bibliography in a book
How to use markup to link entries in a bibliography with the notes section
How to index an e-book
How to use the tools in MS Word to create an index
How to alphabetise an index or bibliography

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