Self-Publishing FAQ

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What is a National Library of Congress control number?

A National Library of Congress control number (LCCN) is a unique identification number the Library of Congress assigns to the catalog record created for each book in its cataloged collections. There are two different types of control numbers. One is called Cataloging In Publication or CIP. The other is Preassigned Control Number or PCN.

While it is not necessary to obtain a LCCN for your book, many subsidy publishers offer this service for an additional fee. The National Library of Congress does not charge publishers to obtain a LCCN through the National Library of Congress.

Please note that if you are self publishing, the National of Library's information page states that "Self-publishers (i.e. authors and editors who pay for or subsidize publication of their own works) and publishers who have published the works of fewer than three different authors are ineligible for a CIP. Publishers ineligible for the CIP program may be eligible for the Preassigned Control Number Program."

For more information on Library of Congress control numbers and how to obtain them for your book, visit the Library's Especially for Publishers information site.

Looking for more help and advice on self-publishing or just have a few questions? Read about our Self-Publishing Consulting.

Author: Kimberly Martin