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9,786 Views 18 Replies Last post: Jun 2, 2012 9:57 AM by SometimesLucid RSS Go to original post
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Level 2 124 posts since
Oct 12, 2011
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16. Jun 2, 2012 8:08 AM in response to: MNicholas
Re: Legal deposit for libraries.

The Legal Deposit Office of the British Library, in West Yorkshire, is supposed to receive one copy of a book.  I ordered a gift copy of my book from to be sent there by free delivery.


There are five other libraries in the British Isles that are entitled to receive a free copy if they make a request.  My understanding is that one can wait for the request, which may never come.

Level 0 6 posts since
Feb 21, 2012
Currently Being Moderated
17. Jun 2, 2012 8:44 AM in response to: MNicholas
Re: Legal deposit for libraries.

Thanks Matt, jpmass


I’ve read many differing advice on this subject but have to say for the small time author the “legal” requirements seem disproportionate and there’s a bit of hype about the subject. As I’m not a lawyer you should consult one for advice. However research suggests ….


This is relevant to anyone publishing in the UK or distributing to the UK, in print.


I’ve seen information, various sources indicating that a copy of each book MUST sent to the six legal repositories in the UK, being:


Bodleian Library, Oxford

University Library, Cambridge

National Library of Scotland

Library of Trinity College, Dublin

National Library of Wales


This appears to be incorrect.


Five of the libraries are now handled by the Agency for Legal Deposit.



“These five libraries have the right to request materials from publishers in terms of legal deposit legislation.

The British Library is also a legal deposit library, but has an automatic right to receive legal deposit materials.”

Note these five libraries have to right to request free copies but it doesn’t mean they will exercise that right.  I’ve no idea if they consistently do for don’t request copies. I will wait to hear if they ask for a copy of mine.


The only proactive requirement is one is required to go to the British Library.


This is confirmed by jpmass posting to this thread too.


Information about legal deposit to the British Library is here:


Information about the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 is here:



I’m also trying to find if it’s acceptable to send a digital copy. As although section 4 says:


“(2) The copy must be delivered within one month beginning with the day of publication.

(3) The copy is to be of the same quality as the best copies which, at the time of delivery, have been produced for publication in the United Kingdom.”


Section 2 says: “New and alternative editions


(1) This Act does not apply to a work which is substantially the same as one already published in the same medium in the United Kingdom.

(2) Where substantially the same work is published in the United Kingdom in more than one medium—

(a) section 1(1) applies only in relation to its publication in one of those media, and

(b) that medium is to be determined in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State.

(3) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision as to circumstances in which works are or are not to be regarded for the purposes of this section as substantially the same.”


So ... if I publish digitally first and the print copy isn’t substantially different then I may not need to send a print copy … but this is governed by secretary of state regulations … which I trying to find out what the current regulation specifies.


I’ve also written to the British Library on the subject too. Awaiting a response.


If you don’t send, see also the enforcement in section 3 of the Act. It doesn’t seem too onerous.


If I have to send a copy I’d prefer to send a second or later edition once I’ve had more feedback from the readers.

Level 0 6 posts since
Feb 21, 2012
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18. Jun 2, 2012 9:57 AM in response to: SometimesLucid
Re: Legal deposit for libraries.

See also


Legal Deposit Libraries welcome the Government’s response to consultation on non-print legal deposit


The Legal Deposit Libraries have welcomed the Government’s response to the public consultation on the ‘draft regulations and guidance for non-print legal deposit’ and its commitment to deliver regulations for non-print content.


Agreements with publishers for depositing the published digital equivalent of printed works in place of depositing the printed version. This, in the long term, will enable the Legal Deposit Libraries and the publishing sector to reduce costs.


I'm not sure if this got shelved last year but have asked the British Library for more clarification.


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