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What is an LCCN and Why Do I Need It?

Updated: Jun 10


Want your book to be carried in libraries? Then you have to register it with the Library of Congress.


"An LCCN is assigned to a book while the book is being catalogued by the Library of Congress, if it has been selected for addition to the Library’s collections." There is only one number assigned to a book no matter how many different formats its published in.


It's important to note that librarians use the LCCN to locate a specific book in the national database and to catalogue and assign a book in libraries, so the number needs to be printed in the book. That means it needs to be obtained prior to the book's publication.


"An LCCN is assigned to a book while the book is being cataloged by the Library of Congress, if it has been selected for addition to the Library’s collections." There is only one number assigned to a book no matter how many different formats its published in. "In some cases, a number can be pre-assigned to the book through the Preassigned Control Number Program (PCN). Some books are not eligible for submission for the PCN program, such as eBooks, custom editions, or books under 50 pages (with the exception of genealogies and children’s books, and catalog exhibitions submitted by museums and art galleries). It’s important to note that even if a number is pre-assigned to the book, the book may not be kept in the Library of Congress’ permanent collection. Self-Publishers can apply for an account with the PCN program."


To be eligible to join the PCN program, authors and self-publisher must be located within the U.S and list a U.S. place of publication on the title or copyright page of their book.


"When a number has been assigned, it should be placed on the book’s Copyright page. It can also be included in other registrations/ information for your book, such as the ISBN registration. Now you’re ready to approach libraries about carrying your book.”

(Credit: Booklogix.com )


It is important to note that there is no relationship between copyright registration and the LCCN or PCN program. Additionally, there is no cost to obtain a PCN.


How do you get an LCCN for your self-published book? It's easy.

  1. Go to the Library of Congress Prepub portal

  2. Create a new account

  3. Click on "Application to Participate". There is a link for instructions, if you need help.

  4. Complete application and submit.

  5. You will receive confirmation of your request and in a few days you will receive an email with a link to log in and request your LCCN. You must complete this step.

  6. Within a few days you will receive your LCCN by email.

  7. Finally, immediately upon publication, send a complimentary copy of your book directly to the Library of Congress at the address provided in the email.


As a self-published author, this is yet another step to having your book discoverable.


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