All about imprint requirements in books and ebooks

The smallest mistakes can result in the biggest costs: the information in the imprint of a publication.

An imprint is mandatoryThis does not only affect books or eBooks published by larger publishers. Even a micro and self-publisher must provide a correct imprint in all his works that are published. Moreover still placed in the right place and not arbitrarily. Whoever does not comply with the press law of his federal state commits a misdemeanor and may be fined up to 50.000 Euro will be penalized!

How to comply with the imprint obligation is regulated at the level of the federal states. In Germany, we have 16 different state press laws, and the decisive factor is in which of the states you as a (self-)publisher or author have your place of residence or business. Registered office are. On the web page you find links to the respective press right in the individual Lands of the Federal Republic.

What must an imprint contain?

An imprint must contain at least the Mandatory information include that respective state press law prescribes. As a rule, this is the full name with address of the publisher and the name or. company name and location of the printer. In case of self-publishing the author or publisher has to be named.

The following (but legally non-binding) Example shows the most common information in the imprint
© / Copyright: 2015 (or. year) + full name of the author resp. of the right owner

Edition (as far as not first edition)
Cover design, illustration: full name resp. Institution
Editing, proofreading: full name resp. Institution
Translation: full name or. Institution
Other contributors: full name resp. Institution

Publisher: Name and place of publisher resp. self-publisher or publisher

Print: Name and location of the print shop

ISBN Paperback: 978-3-XXXX-XXXX-X
ISBN Hardcover: 978-3-XXXX-XXXX-X
ISBN e-book: 978-3-XXXX-XXXX-X

The work, including its parts, is copyrighted. Any exploitation is prohibited without the consent of the publisher and the author. This applies in particular to electronic or other reproduction, translation, distribution and making available to the public.

Bibliographic information of the German National Library:
The German National Library lists this publication in the German National Bibliography; detailed bibliographic data is available on the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.en retrievable.

Where to place the imprint?

In the case of printed books, the imprint should be published on the first pages in the book before the actual book text begins. For eBooks, it is common to put the imprint at the very end or. to be indicated on the last page. Whether this is in accordance with the respective state press law, must be clarified in each individual case.

German National Library: published works must be made available to this library

The German National Library (DNB) is obligated to document all in Germany or. collect works published by authors living in Germany – with the goals of archiving the country’s cultural works and making them available to the public.

Every book published in Germany must be published by the (self-) publisher or editor at the federal level twofold be sent to the responsible German National Library (DNB), at the latest one week after publication. For the new federal states, this is DNB’s location in Leipzig; for the old federal states, it is in Frankfurt am Main.

In addition, at the state level, depending on the state, one or two, mandatory copies must be submitted to the relevant regional state library.

Even if the publisher is located abroad but the author lives in Germany, the deposit copies must be submitted.

Not only print media are to be submitted, but in general Media works. These will be German National Library Act (DNBG) § 3 Media Works defined; read here.

In the event that publishers and / or authors do not comply with this obligation, penalties may be imposed here as well! The best way to get information is to visit the official pages of DNB at or gets legal advice. The law about the German National Library can be found here.

All about imprint requirements in books and ebooks

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