Library and Archives Canada recently announced that self-published materials were no longer eligible for Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) services. The LAC website defines “self-published” as publications that are produced and marketed at the expense of individual authors. This includes POD, subsidy publishing and collaborative publishing as well as strictly self-published books. Basically, any book not published by a trade publisher is no longer eligible.

CIP is a program for publishers and libraries that is coordinated by the LAC. It allows books to be catalogued months before they are published and the information is sent to both libraries and booksellers.

The reason for the policy change is because research done last year shows that self-published materials were less likely than other categories of materials to be found in Canadian libraries and the CIP program was not considered useful. With limited financial resources, the LAC decided to make the cut. Self-published books are still eligible for ISBN and still subject to Legal Deposit. A book that is added to the Legal Deposit collection is catalogued after publication and not before.

The biggest implication is that the lack of CIP will now identify a book as self-published. As those of us who self-publish try to break down barriers, this policy throws one up. Therefore it is imperative that your book be edited, properly formatted, and have a professional cover. While this has always been necessary for the potential for book sales, it is now more important than ever.

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