How to Read the Copyright Page of a Book


The copyright page of a book is full of pertinent information about what the book is, who wrote it, where and when it was published and how you can obtain additional copies of the publication. The concept of the legal copyright began in the year 1710 in Great Britain. Since then, publishers of books have been including a copyright page to assist readers with valuable information about the background of the book they are reading.

Things You'll Need

  • Book copyright page
  • Open the book to the copyright page. It is usually the page immediately following the title page of the book.

  • View the first few lines of the copyright page of the book. Note the name of the author of the publication along with the title of the work.

  • Move your eyes down the page and you will see the book's ISBN numbers. These are the numbers book distributors use when ordering books. Every book printed has an ISBN number to identify the number. If you wanted to order a copy of the book, this is a number you could use to make sure you are getting an exact replica of the book you are holding.

  • Look below the ISBN number to read more information about subject categories and alternative titles of the book. Some books are grouped by category of nonfiction books. An encyclopedia about the 2001 terrorist attacks might be grouped under the subject: September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001 -- Influence -- Encyclopedias. You will also see the Dewey Decimal System number of the book, if it is a nonfiction book. This is to assist libraries and readers find a particular book in a library.

  • Glance further down the page to view specific copyright information about the book, including the dates the book has been copyrighted and who the holder is of the copyright. If a book has been published in other versions previously, multiple years will be listed as the copyright years. The first year listed is typically the first year the book was copyrighted and printed. Here, you will also read the copyright notice of the book, which standardly includes the words, "All rights reserved."

  • Check out the information below the copyright data to view the Library of Congress Catalog Card Number, at which you may find the book officially registered for copyright at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

  • Learn where and by whom the book was published by viewing the information listed below the Library of Congress information. This information typically includes the name, address and website of the publisher.

  • Find information about the paper used in the book, any fonts that were used and ink type at the bottom of the copyright page.

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