What’s CIP data? If you take a book off your bookshelf and look on the verso of the title page, you’ll probably see a section that says, “Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data” or “Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication,” depending on whether the publisher is American or Canadian. CIP data is cataloguing information used by libraries. From the CIP FAQ at the Library and Archives Canada site:
“Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) is a voluntary program of cooperation between publishers and libraries. It enables the cataloguing of books before they are published, and the prompt distribution of this cataloguing information to booksellers and libraries.”
CIP data is not required to publish a book. Since I’m primarily targetting online bookstores for Rymellan 1: Disobedience Means Death, I didn’t really need it. I obtained it for completeness and because there’s no harm in obtaining it. And if a copy does somehow make it to a library, it will save a librarian some work.
In the U.S., it’s difficult for self-publishers to obtain CIP data from the Library of Congress. If you’re an American self-publisher, you’ll have to find out from your American peers about other ways to obtain CIP data.
In Canada, the federal government, specifically Library and Archives Canada, is pleased to provide you with your CIP data regardless of whether you’re a huge publishing house or a self-publisher. You can print the CIP application form and send it snail mail, or apply online. I applied online.
Before you can apply for the CIP data, you’ll have to assign an ISBN to your book. Ideally, your typeset title page, table of contents (if applicable), introduction (if applicable), and preface (if applicable) will be ready. You’ll at least need to tell the CIP office when the title page will be ready, if it isn’t ready when you apply. So you might want to typeset and finalize the pages you’ll need for the CIP data application early on. If you use a book designer who isn’t familiar with the Canadian CIP application process, make them aware of this up front. You’ll attach the typeset pages to your application as PDF files.
You can view the CIP application at the Library and Archives Canada CIP site to see what information you’ll need to provide. This is also where you’ll fill in your application if you apply online. You might be interested in the New Books Service. Since I decided not to participate, I can’t comment on it, except to say that if you do want to participate, you’ll need to submit more typeset pages and details with your CIP application. Check the site for details.
The CIP office clearly states that it needs 10 business days to provide CIP data, so plan for it in advance. You can state a “required by” date for the CIP data on the application. If you haven’t received your CIP data by that date, which happened in my case, simply drop the CIP office an email or give them a call. They’re very responsive.
That’s it for CIP data.