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How to Get a CIP or PCIP

Quality Books, Inc. (a book distributor) has a cataloging section that will prepare a "Publishers Cataloging-in-Publication" (PCIP) data block. Cassady Cataloging is another source for PCIP data. Both of these are commercial services that prepare PCIP data for a fee. You can Google for their URLs. Both offer forms online to help you submit information necessary for the CIP data.

All the larger library systems have "Cataloging Librarians" to maintain their catalog data base. Often, these librarians will, for a modest fee, prepare PCIP data. All librarians are trained in cataloging (it's at the heart of what librarians do), so you can sometimes find a librarian willing to prepare the CIP data for you, again for a modest fee and sometimes (if you're a friend) for free.

Note that in all these cases, you must label the data (usually printed on the copyright page of your book) as "Publishers Cataloging-In-Publication". Only CIP data received from the Library Of Congress may be labeled "Library of Congress Cataloging-In-Publication."

The LoC has restrictive rules to limit demand for their CIP services. First time publishers and publishers publishing their own work are usually precluded from the LoC CIP program.

If you get a Preassigned Control Number (the LCCN) for a book, you are specifically excluded from using the CIP service for the same book. (The LoC CIP service also assigns the LCCN.)

If you're using one of the commercial services or a more informal arrangement with a librarian, you should obtain a PCN before obtaining the CIP data.

The CIP data "goes with the book" so it is not necessarily publisher specific. However, each edition of a book will need some modification to the CIP data. If you've obtained the original data from a commercial service, you should remove their identity from subsequent use of the CIP data (in subsequent editions) unless you obtain an update from the commercial service. When you issue a new edition, you should, at the very least, discuss the CIP data with a qualified, trained* Librarian, as there are small changes required in the CIP data to reflect the edition, although the basic cataloging information would (usually) remain the same.

* With due respect to my librarian friend who vehemently maintains that, "Librarians aren't 'trained'; they are 'educated!'"

Pete Masterson

Aeonix Publishing Group - Publishing Production and Consulting
Author: Book Design and Production: A Guide for Authors and Publishers
Voice & FAX: (510) 222-6743 -- 9AM to 5PM M-F Pacific Time
Visit my web site at for publishing hints
P.O. Box 20985, El Sobrante, CA 94820-0985

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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