As a creative person, you certainly prefer to deal with the writing process, which involves developing a world, working out characters, and planning plot twists. However, a book project includes many other construction sites that you as an author should and sometimes have to deal with. Legal requirements, such as the maintenance of a valid imprint, are also part of these tasks. If you still feel insecure in this area and would like to have more information about the book imprint, then this blog post is the right place for you.
What is an imprint?
The word imprint comes from Latin and means “pressed in”. This is your personal data, which must be provided for the purpose of liability for your works.
As already mentioned, you must have an imprint in Germany. Only private individuals are excluded. This does not include publishing a book yourself, maintaining a website, working publicly, and performing because these are entrepreneurial acts. Specific information on the imprint obligation can be found in the Telemedia Act § 5. The imprint obligation applies to printed products as well as to online publications. Ultimately, this means for you: You need an imprint for your book and your e-book.
Contents of the imprint
Each imprint contains certain information that is mandatory or voluntary. With the voluntary information, you can decide what to write in the imprint. The mandatory information is, as the word duty already expresses, a must. To be on the safe side, you should take a look at the press law of your respective federal state, as there are sometimes different obligations. In general, however, it is the following mandatory information.
Mandatory information in the book imprint
Your name as the author
A chargeable address
the publication date of your book
Your publisher name/the name of your self-publishing publisher
Name (or business name) and address of the printer
Licenses (if the space in the imprint is sufficient, otherwise insert elsewhere)
Voluntary information in the book imprint
The naming of illustrators, editing, etc., if available
the bibliographic information of the German National Library (DNB)
Own author website
Where does the book imprint belong?
In the case of a print edition, you can decide on the placement of the imprint between the beginning and the end of the book. Most advise inserting the book imprint at the beginning, on page 4. The background of this is that it is found there the fastest and in most cases can be found at this point. However, some authors opt for an imprint in the back of the book because they find the data disturbing at the beginning. In e-books, the placement of the imprint on the last pages is again the norm. Finally, the following apply – first inform yourself about the press law in your federal state, and if there is no regulation there, you have a free hand about the placement of your book imprint.
Imprint in the publishing house vs. imprint as a self-publisher
In this case, you have an advantage if you publish in the publishing house, as you do not have to provide your address there. The publisher provides his data and is liable in your place. As a self-publisher, you do not have this opportunity. You must provide your own address. But what if you don’t want to disclose your address in the book imprint or publish it under a pseudonym?
What should I do if I do not want to enter my address?
No matter how you twist and turn it – in Germany, there is an imprint obligation. However, if you do not want to give out your address or remain anonymous under all circumstances, then there is the option of the imprinting service for you. An imprint service provides you with an address that you can insert in the imprint instead of your own. So you could say: The imprint service takes over the publishing role. You have to find out for yourself which imprint service suits you best. Most imprint services cost money, but there are different models and prices, so it’s worth researching. Here are a few examples of imprint services we found in our search.
Imprint for social media and for author websites
Many self-publishers have their own website, a profile on social media, or both. When marketing your book, these two channels are very helpful. If you take a closer look at social media, the platforms Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook, or Goodreads are considered advantageous because they are very popular with readers. We would definitely recommend that you sign up on Instagram or one of the other platforms and become active as an author there.
But in all this, the legal must not be forgotten. If you act as an author there and advertise your products or even sell them, you also need an imprint here. For a website or social media, you have to pay attention to different guidelines than with a book imprint. Essentially, you will need to provide your address and contact details there. With a link to social media or an additional menu item on your website, you can clearly place the imprint on the two channels.
If you want to know more about this, we suggest the articles on the topic “Imprint obligation: 7 important questions about the imprint for websites” or “Instagram: Do I need an imprint?”, both of which serve as excellent sources.
Good to know:
We hope you enjoyed the post and we were able to answer your questions about the book imprint!