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Sending copies of books to British Library

edited January 2018 in Writing
I have just come across a discussion where it was mentioned that as soon as you self-publish a book, you MUST send a copy to the British Library.

Here's a bit more about it:

I didn't know that, and haven't done it. I wonder if that's a reason for my book not being stocked in libraries in general.

Has anyone here done it?


  • edited January 2018
  • edited January 2018
    If you've bought your own ISBN then you should. They will accept e-versions. If you've used a free ISBN from CS, then they are the publisher and, in theory, it's their responsibility. However, technically the book is published outside of the UK.

    Some indie authors that have used their own ISBN don't bother. Some wait until they're contacted. Very few are contacted. I suspect it's impossible to police.
  • I donated two copies to my local library as they said they wouldn't buy any! No-one mentioned the British library. Should I?
  • I wonder how on earth they will store them all if so. There were 391,000 self-published in 2012. Goodness knows how many now.
  • I haven't done it (I use CS and their free ISBNs for my self published books). Some of these books are available from a few libraries.
  • I shan't bother, then!

    I would like to get my books into local libraries. No idea how to do that without donating (and spending a fortune). I did donate my short story collections, but as they are borrowed 'on trust', there is no policing in force. Two are now missing.
  • I didn't donate mine. I heard that most public libraries won't put donated books on the shelves and just dispose of them – but I expect different areas have different rules.
  • Funnily enough, Nell, I went in to my central library in Bristol today to ask about that. I was told that they no longer have control over which books they choose - there are two central ordering facilities, which have pictures of all the books they stock, and the libraries choose from there. So you have to check with these facilities to ask if they will stock your book. It's faceless. But she did take the name of both books I was asking about so she can order them if they do appear. Reaching the stars was there in the poetry section, I went to have a look. But they only had 15 children's poetry books!

    I'll get the name of the two places ad post it here, later. She said they did use one which was very good but had to change (she didn't sound pleased about this but did not specify why).
  • Would be useful to know. And might be worth all self-published writers contacting their library service and finding out what their system is, then go from there.
  • When I said in the poetry section, I meant of the actual library, not the internet choosing book facility.


  • When I gave a library talk last year, one librarian bought a copy of the book with her own money & donated it to the library after she'd read it. It did appear on the shelves.
  • I intend to check soon, perhaps by trying to borrow it!
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