Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Importance of LCCNs

by Cindy M. Hogan

I always get LCCNs for my novels
I get asked all the time about LCCNs since all my self published novels have them.

It's time to put all the answers in one place.

What is an LCCN?

The Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) is a unique identification number that the Library of Congress assigns to titles that it is likely to acquire.  It may not acquire your  book, but if you don't get an LCCN, they definitely won't.

Why do I want one?

LCCNs are used by librarians access the associated bibliographic record in the Library of Congress’ database or to obtain information on various book titles in other databases. This makes you more visible to libraries and people who frequent them-readers. Just who you want to find your books.

Where do I find the LCCN in books?

A book publisher (that's you if you are self published) typically prints the LCCN on the title page in the following manner: Library of Congress Control Number: 2001012345 (this number is just an example).

Can I get one as a self-published author?

Only U.S. book publishers are eligible to obtain an LCCN. That means you have to get a business license as a publisher. If you self publish, you should definitely get a business license. There are huge penalties if the government finds you without one. Just remember, you are the CEO of your publishing company. To receive an LCCN, publishers must list a U.S. place of publication on the title page or copyright page.

Does it cost money to get an LCCN?

There is no charge for registering, but you or your publisher must send a copy of the “best edition” of the book for which the LCCN was pre-assigned immediately upon publication to the Library of Congress. They give you the address where you are to send it. The “best edition” of a book is the retail paperback or hardcover version of the book.

When do I get my LCCN?

You apply for your LCCNs when you send your book for it's final copy edit. You can only get one for your book before it is published. 

Can I get one for my eBooks?

Books published in electronic form are ineligible for an LCCN. Said another way, eBooks are not eligible for LCCNs, only print books are.

How do I get one?

Should you wish to obtain an LCCN on your own, the first step is to complete the Application to Participate and obtain an account number and password, which takes one to two weeks. The application is found online. Complete information about the LCCN process can be found at http://www.loc.gov/publish/pcn/   From there, you are given a liaison that will work with you on all your other books and send you all your LCCNs from then on. During peak seasons, it may take another few weeks to get your number.

The nitty-gritty

You don't have to get an LCCN, but all traditional publishers do, so why not you? Don't you think your book should be in the Library of Congress? Pretty cool if you ask me. 

Get your business license as a publisher and go get your LCCNs. Why not?

Now that you know, are you going to go for it? 
Why or why not?


Donna K. Weaver said...

Good information, Cindy, and very timely for me.

Canda said...

Thanks, Cindy--I hope I need this info in the near future. :)

Emilyann Girdner said...

Wow. This is good an important for information, and right on time for me. Thank you so much for sharing.

Keep Imagining,


Arlee Bird said...

This is new info for me. I've heard of the ISBN # but not the LCCN.

Tossing It Out

Misha Gericke said...

Very interesting! I'll need to sleep on it, though...

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Here in Canada, it's similar, except all books published are in the archives. In fact, I had to send two of my first novel because I was the publisher. I was pretty green in those days. When I got the letter requesting I send 2 copies, I didn't know what the heck was going on. LOL. Ah, the good ole days.