Legal Deposit Requirements


By law, one copy of every UK publication (including e-books) must be sent to the British Library within one month of publication. 

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 postal address for Legal Deposit is below – please send one copy of each of your publications to this address:
Legal Deposit Office
The British Library
Boston Spa
West Yorkshire
LS23 7BY

Hard copy books must be submitted via post, however e-books can either be deposited by post (to the address above) or deposited electronically.

If you have both physical and electronic formats of a book:

The British Library has clarified that the default method of deposit is print. When you deposit a print version you do not need to also deposit an electronic version unless they request it:

Electronic submission:

If you want to deposit your e-book electronically, you need to email us ([email protected]) a zipped archive file which contains your publication in two files (a metadata file and a content file), in the required formatting (please see below). 

The required formatting for electronic submission is as follows:
1) Metadata in ONIX 2.1 or ONIX 3.0 format
2) Content files in epub however PDF is fine where no epub exists
3) Each e-publication to be supplied as an individual zipped archive file containing the content and metadata files
4) The ISBN of the publication to be used as prefix for all filenames relating to the publication (e.g.
5) File name suffix conventions to be:
.xml for the publication metadata (e.g. 9781784128265.xml)
.epub for the publication content (e.g. 9781784128265.epub)
.zip for the zipped archive file containing matching metadata and content files for the publication (e.g. containing the above .xml & .epub files).


You may also receive an additional request for 5 more copies of your book (for 5 other libraries in the UK).

This request will come through us (we will send you an email if we receive a request from ALDL for 5 copies of your book).

If you submitted one copy of your book by post to the British Library, and then you receive a request for 5 additional copies of your book, you’ll need to send these copies by post to the address below:

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

NOTE – you can send these 5 copies if you wish anyway, without necessarily waiting for a demand.

For more information on legal deposits please see

The British Library   and The Agency for Legal Deposit Libraries


Irish publishers and distributors are obliged by law to deposit 13 print copies of a book or journal with specified legal deposit libraries in Ireland and the United Kingdom.  Look here for details.