Pflichtexemplar – Legal Deposit

How to write a German CV (cover)If you publish a book in Germany, then you are required to provide two copies – the so-called “Pflichtexemplare” – to the national library.

The system is similar to law in the UK requiring copies of new books to be sent to the British Library, and for certain others, eg. the Bodleian Library in Oxford, to be able to request free copies if they wish to do so.

As a result, the Deutsche Nationalbilbiothek is able to provide a complete database of anything published in Germany.

Recently, there has been some discussion as to whether digital publishers are required to provide free copies to the library as well, even to the extent of whether bloggers would have to provide copies of every post!

Luckily the library appears to have seen sense and just scans and stores any articles on blogs that they choose to archive.  But what about e-books?

With my e-book coming out at the beginning of October – tomorrow in fact – I contacted the library and asked them what I had to do.  Did they really want two digital copies, and in which format?

Thankfully, after the first person I spoke to confirmed that I would need to supply two copies, I was connected to someone who really knew the answer.  And that answer is very simple: you just register and upload the PDF.

Too simple?  Well, I registered as an author, and then applied for the area allowing me to submit my e-book online.  I then uploaded the PDF of the book, filled out the relevant information about the e-book on the form, and submitted it.

In fact, I did this a couple of weeks ago, expecting German bureaucracy to take longer than it did to process the entry.  Within hours, I was already listed in the online catalogue!

So if you’re reading this post from within the national library’s computer network, you can already read my e-book by clicking on this link.

Everyone else will have to come back tomorrow…


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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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