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ISBNs, LCCN, P-CIP, BISAC, All of the Acronyms!

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Writing a book is only part of the process. Copyrighting and cataloging your book is a whole other thing. Since I am new to this writing business, I had to do some research to understand what other information was needed to finalize my work and where to file and list this information in my book. Before taking you through these steps, let me break down some definitions for you.

  • Copyright - the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.

  • ISBN (International Standard Book Number) - a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally.

  • LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number) - a unique identification number that the Library of Congress assigns to the catalog record created for each book in its cataloged collections. Librarians use it to locate a specific Library of Congress catalog record in the national databases and to order catalog cards from the Library of Congress.

  • P-CIP (Publisher's Cataloging-In-Publication) Data - is a cataloging block created by a trained cataloger at the request of a publisher. Its main purpose is to help librarians catalog books faster. This means improved service to library users and librarians. It contains identifiers for your book such as LCCN, ISBN, and BISAC Codes.

  • BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) - is an industry-approved “list of standard subjects designed for use in the book trade in the U.S. and English-speaking Canada.” Meaning, these codes are used to properly “shelve” your title at retailers.

Whew! And all this is needed to identify that this book is mine and how it should be properly referenced and cataloged. Upon researching this long list of to-dos for my book, I went ahead and tackled everything through the followings steps.

Step 1: I visited to register my manuscript with the US Copyright Office. It took about a month to receive my office registrant letter in the mail once I filed for it.

Step 2: I visited Bowker Identifier Services, which is the official seller of ISBNs in the United States. Note: Each book format (i.e. hardcover, paperback, digital, audio, etc.) requires a different ISBN so it is a better value to purchase ISBNs in a group.

Step 3: I knew I wanted to have my books cataloged with the library and ultimately have my book appear more professional by following industry standards with the Copyright page, so I visited the Library of Congress to obtain my LCCN as a self-publisher and waited for my approvals.

Step 4: While I waited for my LCCN approval, I researched what BISAC codes could be included as part of my P-CIP data block. Understanding these industry-standard codes helped me to break down my story into subjects and themes.

Step 5: Since I am not a trained book cataloger, I had to reach out to a publishing agency, Cassidy Cataloging Services, to get the P-CIP data block completed on my behalf.

Step 6: Once I received my P-CIP data block, I began researching the layout for my copyright page where all the above information will be formated and design by my picture book illustrator (as per my requirements).

I am happy to report that all the above has been completed and finalized for the book! I wanted to make sure that I documented this process, not just for new authors... but for myself! These steps will be repeated for Book #2, and at that time, I'll be prepared and ready!

Again, thank you for following my author journey and for all of your feedback and support! If you haven't already, please subscribe to my website to get all the latest updates on my project and to see what happens next.

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