Authors: How to Get Your LCCN (Library of Congress Number)

The wise author applies for the LCCN before the book is printed.

(Library of Congress Catalog Control Number)



One question that most authors don’t know to ask is, “How do I get the LCCN?” What’s a LCCN? Good question—it’s the Library of Congress number that shows that you exist, and the one that any library that you are pitching your book to wants to know you have.

The good news is that these are free (although going through the two steps to get them can sometimes be a pain in the tush.

Here are your steps:

The LCCN:  The Library of Congress Control Number. It is free and can be obtained fairly quickly―usually within a day or two via email back to you. You must have your ISBN to get it. Once you have the LCCN, it will cover case bound (hard, paper, eBook), you don’t need another for your title.

Beware The websites are occasionally updated—changed—so these instructions may also require a little tweaking.

It is a two-step process:  

  • Go to Google or directly to the LCCN website.
  • Enter: Library of Congress book number and click on Search.   
  • Preassigned Control Number Program will appear.
  • Or go to
  • Click on “Open an Account if appropriate.  Otherwise click on EPCN Login,for an existing account if you have other titles already registered.
  • If “New Account,” read instructions, and then click on “Application to Participate.
  • There is a note at the top, Click here for Instructions,” for assistance.
  • Fill out and click on “Submit.” Within a few days, no more than a week, you will be e-mailed an account number and a password providing you access to the appropriate application form.  
  • WATCH FOR THIS eMAIL–you can’t complete the process until you respond to it. This is Step 2.

If you have an account already, the “EPCN Login” button brings you to the form requiring your Account ID and Password.  Fill out and click on the “Sign On” button and fill out form.  A final note to those with accounts already: The password expires after 60 days.  A new one can be created using the following instructions.  It must:

  • Be at least eight characters in length;
  • Contain at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, and one number;
  • Not contain consecutive repeated characters;
  • Be recreated following these steps if you wait to use it over 60 days;
  • Not be changed more than once per day;
  • Not be changed to any of the 11 most recently used passwords.

If the password has expired, just write the old one out and write the new one under it, changing just one of the numbers or letters. Keep a record so that you know what has been changed, thus avoiding repeating the old number by chance.

Your LCCN will come to you via email. Print it out. Put in it a Folder for all your Publisher Info. Create a Folder on your computer—put it there as well.


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Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and is the Founder of, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 35 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (Foreword IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. Book #35 was published in 2016: How to Avoid 101 Book Publishing Blunders, Bloopers & Boo-Boos. Get your copy now.

Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged, a three-day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2017, the dates are June 22-24th.  Her audio and workbook series, Creating Your Book and Author Platform is now available. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” on the Toginet Network at

Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU, and join the Facebook group Book Publishing with The Book Shepherd. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact Judith at

header-logo1.pngAuthor U is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the author who wants to be seriously successful. Monthly education programs delivered face-to-face and online, The Author Resource ezine, BookCamps, and the annual Author U Extravaganza are tools designed for authors pre-, during and post-publishing of their books. Join today.

 If you are looking for FREE author and book coaching … call in to Judith’s Author Monday Mornings at NOON Eastern each Monday if you are an GOLD member. 

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98 Comments on Authors: How to Get Your LCCN (Library of Congress Number)

  1. hello there and thank you for your information – I’ve certainly picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise some technical points using this web site, as I experienced to reload the website a lot of times previous to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I am complaining, but slow loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and can damage your high-quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and could look out for much more of your respective intriguing content. Ensure that you update this again soon..

    • Judith Briles says:

      Thanks Eli … we will give the webmaster a heads-up about the webhosting. We have so much content on this site that it may slow it a bit … but let’s see if we can give it a goose!

  2. Thank you so much for this! I was a bit confused and having read so much self publishing information, I just needed something simple and straight to the point.

    Take care

    • Judith Briles says:

      You are welcome … it’s a matrix out there! Glad to help. Judith

  3. Mary says:

    Are you able to apply for a LCCN if your book is already published? Thanks.

    • Judith Briles says:


      • Patsy Stanley says:

        Where can I go to find out more about getting LLOC’s for my published books? The LOC only gives info about unpublished books…

        • Judith Briles says:

          Are you saying that the book never applied for an LCCN and has been out for some time?

          • Patsy Stanley says:

            yes! please help

          • Judith Briles says:

            already published books get a PCN …you missed the LCCN window. Your publisher should have handled this in the beginning.

      • Pat says:

        Their website says no.

  4. Hello Judith! Thanks for all the help (you just didn’t know it) over the last couple of months. I’ve learned so much and wanted to give back – sooooo…. here is the new link for this article. For an LCCN go to:

    Thanks again,


    • Judith Briles says:

      Thanks Chris … we actually have a printed document with all the info from the link for authors as well. In fact, we are putting together a “goodie” for anyone who signs up for our emails and The Author Resource–they get the Top 5 Publishing Answers all authors want–

  5. Thanks for this easy-to-follow guideline. I received my id and password within a matters of hours. I did have a question. Can a person apply for a LCCN if his/her book is already published?

    • Judith Briles says:

      Yes they can… then when you reprint, put in on the (C) page… add it to your ebook (C) as well.

  6. Thanks for this! I had a service want to charge me $49 for this. I knew – being the Library of Congress – that it would most likely be free to do. So…I sent in and now, I wait…

    • Judith Briles says:

      Good for you Sandra. When you have finished book and you want to register it with the LOC, that will cost you $35 … it’s a totally separate form and something you want to do… this is for “protection” down the road dealing with a published work.

    • Hi Judith. This page proved useful and informative. On visiting the Library of Congress site, I found the the following list of items not eligible for the Preassigned Control Number.

      Since my intent was to get a Library of Congress Control Number for my E-book, it would appear I will not be able to do so. Is that your take on the program?

  7. Hello, Dr. Briles,

    Thanks for the very helpful information!

    Just a quick question: the PCN webpage makes mention of “publishers” but not “authors”…moreover, under the “publisher eligibility” link, one criterion is “maintaining an editorial office”…I guess as far as the Library of Congress is concerned, authors and publishers are one and the same???

    • Judith Briles says:

      Jack… I would assume we are the same!

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  9. Okay, Dr. Briles,

    Just got word from a Ms. Gatewood at the Library of Congress who concurs, only that a publishing house must be provided, even if we’re self-publishing!

    Seems odd that the Library of Congress would be fine with a phony company in its records…..

    • Judith Briles says:

      Jack… what’s the name of your publishing house … don’t use your personal name … ______ Press or _____ Publishing. You don’t say you are self-publishing.

  10. Susan Tietjen says:

    Judith, this info was very helpful. I’ve already done part of it but wish I had seen your site first saved myself a few headaches. I do have one question though, to clarify. You stated that you have to have your ISBN first, before you can get your LCCN. But when I tried to get my ISBN, I was told I had to have my LCCN first. I’m totally confused. I’ve also been a number of writers’ conferences and was told that once you publish your book, if you didn’t get your LCCN ahead of time, you can’t get one later. You stated here that that isn’t true. I hope you’re right! I’m pretty gun-shy right now, especially since the book I’m getting ready to Indie publish is my “baby.” I would hate to do this wrong and not be able to sell it through anyone but Amazon.


    • Judith Briles says:

      Hi Susan… it’s definitely ISBN first. You can’t go down the path for the LCCN without it … and many, many thousands of books never get a LCCN, yet have an ISBN.

  11. Sequoia says:

    This some great information but I am still a little confused. I am self publishing through LuLu publishing and I attempted to apply for an LCCN number for my book but its asking for a publishing house, senior officer, etc. inof and I don’t any of that. How do I filled this application out if I am self publishing?

    • Judith Briles says:

      LuLu is now part of Author Solutions/Author House. They are not a publisher. You need to create your own publishing imprint/name, then apply… do not mention LuLu

      • Matt says:

        Just for clarity, Lulu is not a part of the Author Solutions family. They (AS) simply provide some paid marketing options to Lulu customers. All authors who publish on their own through Lulu, without any paid services, are considered the sole content owners and publishers of their work. Thanks!

      • Hi Judith,
        I work at Lulu and wanted to say thank you for the help you provide to self-publishing authors via your blog.
        I also wanted to clarify that Lulu is not part of Author Solutions/Author House. We have been a stand-alone company since 2002 when we were first founded.
        You are correct in saying that we are not a publisher. Each and every self-published author on our site is their own publisher. That’s the major advantage of a self-publishing on Lulu. Authors keep all theirs rights on their works.
        If you have any questions about Lulu, I’ll be happy to respond.

        • Judith Briles says:

          Karine … we will correct copy about AS and LuLu … at some point, I had information that you were joined at the hip. With that said, I don’t want any authors working with anything/anyone that is getting things supplied via Author Solutions. Let me know if you severe marketing services.

  12. Hi Judith,
    Just so I think I understand you correctly, the only way to get a LCCN after publication is to republish/print a second edition?

    My publisher didn’t submit my book before publication, and now I’m unable to find any information on how to get a LCCN now that it has been in print for a year other than one website (selling their LCCN procurement services) that said you can’t.


    • Judith Briles says:

      Hmmmm Sallie… why not go to the site and send a direct query to them in their contacts form. Are you a POD … are you doing any revisions? Judith

  13. Thanks for this info! I thought it was a big secret process 🙂 Much appreciated!

    • Judith Briles says:

      Secrets is a great word to use to hook people in … but the reality is—a little digging gets delivers treasurers!

  14. I didn’t see this mentioned, but forgive me if it’s a repeat. How long after getting the account number and password to officially apply online is the wait for the actual LCCN? Is it immediate? Thank you so much. It’s people like you who make it so much easier for starting publishing houses and first-time self-publishing authors.

    • Judith Briles says:

      LCCNs come back via email within a few days… don’t apply until you have ISBNs and all the info with page count, etc.

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    • Judith Briles says:

      We don’t recommend that you use CreateSpaces, or anyone else’s ISBNs, LCCNs… get your own … control it and have it clearly identified the you, the author/publisher is the designee.

      • but they are so expensive. and don’t you have to have a different isbn for each format – print, kindle, etc. and also each new edition? could run into a lot of isbns for each title, couldn’t it?

  16. Thank you so much for this simple step-by-step guide to getting an LCCN number. Also appreciate the info on maintaining the account/password once you have an LCCN number. So much territory to maneuver in this world of indie publishing — your expertise and knowledge are truly helpful.

    • Judith Briles says:

      You are welcome Cristina–glad it was of help.

    • Patricia Smith says:

      Where would I get a copy of the step by step guide to getting a LCCN number? Thank you.

        • Ed Schilling says:

          The instructions say to file an “application to participate” to get an account with CIP to then work towards getting a LCCN number. Unfortunatly, the application requires three published books by my publishing company by three different authors. Since I’m self publishing, I only have my book, not 2 others (much less by other authors). How do I qualify to get a LCCN number if I can’t qualify for a CIP account?

          • Judith Briles says:

            Stop saying you are self published. You are published by an independent press. I assume it doesn’t have your name or company in the name.

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    • Judith Briles says:

      It is BEST to do all this filing yourself. You get your own LCCN # and you use your own ISBNs … not CreateSpaces or anyone else. For ISBNs, Bowker is the official distributor. Use For LCCN, go directly to the site in the blog.

  18. Hello Judith: Thank you so much for the information. Just a week ago I was considering CreateSpaces. After reading your post, I decided not to use CreateSpaces, or anyone else’s ISBNs, LCCNs I’m hoping you can help me with a question that may not be related. I published a booklet over 5 years ago. My business name and copyright symbol was placed on it however, it was never sent to the US copyright office. Last October, I finally sent it for a copyright however, my case is still pending. My question to you is, can I can I apply for an ISBN number as well as LCCN without having an official copyright?

    • Judith Briles says:

      you don’t need an official copyright to apply for either ISBN or LCCN … and by the way, will sell authors a single ISBN for half the cost and post it in your publishing name. The little tidbit popped up on the radio show I did with Robin Cutler, Sr, Manager of IngramSpark. Listen to the show… click the On the Air image on the Home page. And… come to the AuthorU Extravaganza. Judith

  19. Sharon Williams says:

    Thank you for this very helpful information. Can someone who is self publishing obtain an LCCN? I read somewhere that you cannot obtain an LCCN unless you are using a publisher and have a valid address for that publisher. Is that true? If so, how can I work around this issue? Does this mean I must first create my own publishing company in order to obtain one?

    • Judith Briles says:

      Yes you can apply … You state the publishing name .. you are publishing with a small press, independent. The fact that own it doesn’t mean you state “self-published”.

  20. Wow! I ran across this tidbit purely accident. I was looking for information on how to get a self-publish books into libraries. I was under the impression that self-published books could not get a LCCN. Thank you for straightening this out for me, as I was considering paying a company to obtain a number for me.

    • Judith Briles says:

      No need to pay for something that is free! Glad you found this. Judith

  21. Justine says:

    I purchased an ISBN and created my LCCN with it. I am now going with a publisher for this book (it has not yet been printed/published) and have to change the ISBN. Should I register for a new LCCN? Or can I keep the original one even though the ISBN will be different?

    • Judith Briles says:

      ISBNs are tied to LCCNs … the publisher should apply for this.

  22. Irene Shepard says:

    I read your information about LCCN. When I went to the web site for the Library of Congress and the section “Preassigned Control Number Program” it seems as if only publishers can register and get a number. I am self publishing through Amazon.
    Can you help?

    • Judith Briles says:

      don’t say you are a self publishing … if you are serious about the journey, transition to an independent publisher with your own publishing name; request LCCNs before your publication date. AND, my recommendation for POD is to use …it can feed into Amazon and open you up to other possibilities with bookstores and overseas.

  23. I am reading that Ingram requires a PDF for the cover and not a save as PDF ( or a jpg presumably) Do you know about that? Does that mean one has to buy yet another product? thanks.

    • Judith Briles says:

      There are plenty of programs that convert to PDF. Do you have Adobe? Are you using a cover designer? Programs like
      Can handle it.

  24. anuroop sebastian says:

    Hi Judith,
    I am publishing my first book with a small Christian publisher. Do I need a separate LCCN number for eBooks, hardcover and softcover. In other words, do i need three separate LCCN for each format?
    I really appreciate your response.

    • Judith Briles says:

      LCCN is for the print book … .nothing else is needed—Lccns aren’t used for “e”

  25. A round of applause to Judith for providing such great information and responding to everyone so quickly. Makes for a great forum. I learned a lot of great stuff here today.

    • Judith Briles says:

      Thank you, Thank you Eric. So glad this was helpful to you.


  26. Judith,
    Thank you for writing this article. It’s been very helpful. If you don’t mind another question…I’m doing a reprint of a book that I had self-published through a facilitating house (editors, graphics, publishing, etc) in Texas.
    I’m doing the reprint through my own press. My book is copyrighted to me. I own all rights. I have an existing LCCN for the book but since it’s being reprinted under a different publisher, do you think I should get a new LCCN? Thank you.

    • Judith Briles says:

      Your LCCN is fine.

      • Mark Bowlin says:

        Thank you….I appreciate it.

        • Judith Briles says:

          You’re welcome Mark.

  27. I’m at their site and they require my publisher’s address. Since I operate out of my home, is it best to get a P.O. Box? How public does that information become with them?

    • I just received a reply from them: The residential or business address is not made public within our online records and are only kept in-house, however, the city and place of publication may be made public.

      • Judith Briles says:

        it’s totally appropriate to have city/state IDed with a publishing company.

  28. Lucille Tigges says:

    I’m ready to send my book to the Library of Congress. My question is can it be sent on a CD
    or does it need to be a hard copy. I can not find this anwser anywhere.

    • Judith Briles says:

      Either digital or hard copy, it is on the registration form when you pay.

  29. Vlad says:

    Your site says: “The wise author applies for the LCCN before the book is printed.”

    I have an e-book. It won’t be sold as a printed book. And, it has not been published yet.

    When I assigned my title to an ISBN number on Bowker’s, it was mandatory that I stated a date of publication. Since it hasn’t been published (until I get an LCCN No.), I simply stated my final edit date in order to fulfill their mandatory (red asterisked) “Publication Date” field.

    Here’s the problem: From what I understand, you need an ISBN number to obtain an LCCN. However, you can’t get an LCCN unless you have an ISBN registered. And, the only way to get a registered ISBN connected to your title is to assign a title to it. So, you can’t do one without the other.

    The comment I read said: “Judith Briles says: already published books get a PCN …you missed the LCCN window. Your publisher should have handled this in the beginning.”

    So, am I stuck with having to get a PCN? What is the proper sequence be to get an ISBN and LCCN?


    • Judith Briles says:

      Vlad –you don’t get an LCCN for ebooks, only print. For print.. the PCN is what it’s called prepublication,post just the LCCN .. both the same number.

  30. May GOD BLESS YOU!!! Thank you for clear & easy to follow directions in an absolute maze of confusion! I was getting ready to pay $50 to have someone get this for me, then decided to strike out on my own & do a bit of research. I purchased 10 ISBNs from Bowker, established my own printing name (but am printing through Createspace) and then using your AWESOME directions, just applied for my LCCN. Question: should I go ahead and get a copyright? The book is my Christian Testimony and there’s really not much to “steal” but seems like everyone gets a copyright as well. Any thoughts?

    • Judith Briles says:

      Bravo Mona! So much of the infrastructure of publishing can be done with just a little bit or research.

  31. Margo Paddock says:

    I am a freelance editor for an author whose book has appeared on his website for several years. If someone wanted to, they could print the book (very laboriously, one chapter at a time) from the website. He has also printed (at Staples) a few copies for his own use and for a few readers. The work is marked with a copyright date of 2016 (but has recently been changed in minor ways). My question is what the year “first published” I should use when applying for a LCCN and ISBN?

    • Judith Briles says:

      Margo … this is sloppy of the author and whoever was advising him. I would IMMEDIATELY remove from the website today … and anywhere else; I would add 2017 © and I would put a disclaimer on the © page that previous sections where shared on the authors website prior to official publication. And go forward. My two bits.

  32. Brad says:

    Hi Judith,

    In the application process they ask for three (3!) titles and authors for “publishing history” and they are all required fields. If we’re a new (self-published) publishing imprint, we do’nt have three titles, just the one. Any advice and what to do?

    I think I’m going to enter the same title in, three times, and see what happens…


    • Judith Briles says:

      Do you have 3 “dummy” ISBN’s you can use … vary the title a bit … I’m not having a problem just entering one.

  33. Thank you so much for this valuable information. My question is, do I need a new LCCN for each version of my book. I have a paperback copy, digital copy via Kindle and now a Workbook. Do I need a new LCCN for the workbook which has the same title as my paperback?

    Thank you

    • Judith Briles says:

      Once is enough.

  34. Mary Jo says:

    I am still confused as so much information is being said here.

    I have a book that I printed. I have an ISBN # and a copyright #. I plan on self publishing my book. To obtain an LCCN, the Library of Congress requires an Application to Participate. The form then asks for the name of the Publishing House. Can the publishing house be my own name and address? Would I then be the Senior Officer as well as the Principal Contact?

    What would happen if at a later date I determined I did not want to self publish and wanted to go through an established publisher? Would applying for this ( and including the ISBN number) cause problems?

    I’m just wondering what steps I need to take – it’s as clear right now and I need some guidance.

    • Judith Briles says:

      You need new ISBN. To start with and new copyright date. You can’t get LCCN on old books unless it comes ou the gate like a new baby.

  35. Judith, Thanks so much for this excellent information. I just applied to create and account now. Now is the waiting time. I haven’t published my book but have obtained my ISBN # 13 and 10 via Createspace. I am trying to get the LOCN, will they require a printed copy of my book or will they accept a PDF via email? I am confused on that. I would be very grateful for a clarification on that.

    • Judith Briles says:

      All you need is the basic info about your book–must have is the ISBN to apply for the LCCN.

  36. Tammy says:

    I applied for a PCN number. I purchased my ISBN from Bowkers. How do I know if I have been accepted to get a PCN? What’s the difference between PCN and LCCN? It says I was approved for the PCN, I entered the username and password they sent but waiting for the PCN number via email. Does this mean that they accepted my book and I will receive my LCCN?

    • Judith Briles says:

      There is a two-step process to the PCN/LCCN. First you apply to “get permission” to apply. when they send the password, then you must submit all info requested about your book.

  37. THANK YOU for this valuable information! I am now submitting a LCCN for my second book!!! You are awesome.

  38. Christie says:

    So what would account for a delay in getting this LCCN? My publisher says they have made several follow-up inquiries and still the LCCN has not come. It has probably been a month and still waiting. I suppose there is nothing I can do since the publisher is handling it.

  39. Hi so to make sure I understand. I need to obtain an account. With this account, I will be able to log in and get a book number for a book I am publishing. I am not sure what the 60 days expiration means. Is this if I happen to lose my login info I can get a new password? Once I apply it will be a week to process and receive my book number.

    • Judith Briles says:

      60 days refers to when you were approved to submit a book to obtain a PCCN or LCCN, you need to get info in and obtain it. I suggest you copy all Communications into a folder on your computer for future reference. when do you have your numbers, you should be able to log back in. You will need to submit a new application for each book you apply for. Remember these numbers need to be obtained before your book is officially published

  40. Jan Kubań says:

    Dear Judith,

    This website is fantastic! Thank you.

    Is it possible to get my book in the Library of Congress if I am not American?

    • Judith Briles says:

      You are welcome. Yes, you can add your book. Fill out the forms at . You can do it online.

      To obtain an LCCN or PCCN, it must done before the book is published

  41. Thanks for this great info! I’m self-publishing and have put the printers name as the publisher’s house and myself as the officer, hoping it all goes well! I’ve actually just written a second edition to a study guide I published with a big publishing house back in 2013. Do you know if every book needs a new LCCN or if the second ed. can just piggyback off of the first one?

    • Judith Briles says:

      No on the second edition … if you are getting new ISBNs, then I would reapply. Brooke, I suggest you get my Publishing Essentials –subscribe to it on the Home page of–I have books on publishing. AuthorYOU; How to Avoid 101 BookPublishing Blunders, Bloopers, and Boo-Boos. Get them. Join now—it will have a variety of discounts and special webinars I do for members. You can also arrange a private consult with me. And, welcome to the world of publishing. My passion. Judith

  42. Olivia says:

    Peace Judith, i am a new author and im with an hybrid publishing/selfPublish. They sent me a contract and they want to obtain the ISBN and LCCN and im skeptical. Should i let them do it for me or should i tell them that i want to obtain those? I want to selfpublish and pay them for certain services. I just want to make sure that all rights are mines.

    • Judith Briles says:

      Take control Olivia … this is not a publisher … get your own ISBN’s and LCCN … what are you paying these people? Have you Googled for complaints, problems, scams, lawsuits, ripoffs, etc.? I have books on publishing. AuthorYOU; How to Avoid 101 BookPublishing Blunders, Bloopers, and Boo-Boos. Get them. Join now—it will have a variety of discounts and special webinars I do for members. You can also arrange a private consult with me. And, welcome to the world of publishing. My passion. ~Judith

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