How to deposit your print publications

Man holding a book in front of his face.

If you're a publisher, you need to send one copy of every print publication you produce within one month of its publication. Other legal deposit libraries may also request copies from you. Here you'll find out what publications to send and where to send them.

The British Library is entitled to delivery, free of charge, of one copy of every publication within one month beginning with the day of its publication. The copy deposited must be “of the same quality as the best copies which, at the time of delivery, have been produced for publication in the United Kingdom” [Legal deposit Libraries Act 2003]. The British Library will issue a receipt for every work deposited.

Print publications you need to deposit

The Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 applies to any person who publishes in the United Kingdom. In the case of works published in print, it covers the following categories:

  • books (including pamphlets, magazines or newspapers)
  • sheets of letterpress or music
  • maps, plans, charts or tables
  • parts of any such works.

Every new publication and every new edition of a publication, each of which may contain corrections, amendments or additional content, is liable for deposit.

Where to send your publication

Legal Deposit Office
The British Library
Boston Spa
West Yorkshire LS23 7BY

+44 (0)1937 546268 (books)
+44 (0)1937 546267 (serials)
+44 (0)1937 546409 (newspapers)

Email: (books) (serials) (newspapers)

Other legal deposit libraries may request a copy of your publication

Bodleian Libraries University of Oxford, Cambridge University Library, the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales and the Library of Trinity College Dublin are each entitled to delivery, free of charge, of one copy of every publication that they request.

The request must be made in writing (whether sent by electronic or other means) no later than 12 months after the day of the work’s publication. The request may be made before publication and may include all future numbers or parts of an encyclopaedia, newspaper, magazine, journal or other work.

The deposited copy must be delivered within one month of the day of publication or the day on which the request is received, whichever is later.

The deposited copy “is to be of the same quality as the largest number of copies which, at the time of delivery, have been produced for publication in the United Kingdom” [Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003].

Copies for these deposit libraries must be delivered to a specified address. They share an agent for requesting and taking receipt of deposited works:

The Agent
Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries
21 Marnin Way
EH12 9GD

Tel:  +44 (0)131 334 2833

If your publications are without an ISBN or ISSN

If your publications do not have an ISBN or ISSN, you still need to deposit them.

The requirement to deposit an item does not depend on its having been allocated an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) or Serial Number (ISSN), but on whether or not it can be considered to have been published. A work is said to have been published when copies of it are issued to the public.

The place of publication or printing, the nature of the imprint and size of distribution are immaterial. It is the act of issuing or distributing to the public in the United Kingdom which renders a work liable for deposit.

Material you do NOT need to deposit

Reprints of publications already deposited, where no changes have been made, do not need to be deposited.

Publishers are not required to deposit the following unless a written demand for them is made by a legal deposit library:

  • internal reports
  • examination papers
  • local transport timetables
  • appointment diaries
  • wall and desk calendars
  • posters.

You need to continue depositing print even if you publish the same content in digital format

You need to deposit print content until you have successfully registered for depositing digitally and the British Library or another deposit library has confirmed that your digital content can be processed and preserved.

We help as many publishers as possible transfer from depositing print to depositing digitally, as soon as appropriate systems and adequate resources are in place, and mutually satisfactory arrangements are agreed.