Author Legal Deposit Obligations


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].

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

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:

  • “If you publish the same content in print and electronic formats, please continue to deposit the print copy unless the British Library or other legal deposit library has confirmed that your digital content can be processed and preserved.”
  • “The default format in which publications should be deposited in print”  (

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 format described 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, but PDF is acceptable where no epub exists
3) Each e-publication is 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 a 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 five more copies of your book (for the five other main UK libraries).

This request will come through us. We will email you if we receive a request from the Agency for Legal Deposit Libraries (ALDL) for five 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 five 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

OPTION: you can opt to send these five copies anyway without waiting for a formal request.

For more information on legal deposits, please see:

The British Library

The Agency for Legal Deposit Libraries


NORTHERN IRELAND – another copy

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.  See here for details.