How to copyright a book

You can register a copyright for your book by submitting your registration electronically, or by mailing in a print application.

by Joe Runge, Esq.
updated February 15, 2023 ·  3min read

You own the copyright to your book the moment you begin writing it. But if you want to safeguard your copyright, you need to do more.

By registering the copyright to your book with the U.S. Copyright Office, you protect your ability to enforce your rights over your book against any infringement of those rights. You can do this yourself or simplify the process by using a service.

If you choose to go the DIY route, here is an overview of the process.

How to register a copyright

Registering your copyright is simple. Fortunately, have two registration choices:

  • Electronic registration, called "eCo" on the U.S. Copyright Office website
  • Mail/print registration

The registration process involves filling out and submitting your application for copyright, paying a fee, and sending in a copy of the work being copyrighted. In this case, because you're copyrighting a book, that would be a copy of your book.

Electronic registration

The following steps will walk you through the electronic registration of your copyright. Note that the steps are based on the structure of the registration portal at the time of the writing of this article, so the names of the links may be slightly different depending on when you access the site:

  • Go to the Copyright Office's registration page.
  • Click on Literary Works.
  • You will now be on the Literary Works copyright page. Click on the link that says "Register a Literary Work."
  • This will take you to a log in page. To electronically register your copyright, you'll need to have an account within the electronic copyright registration system.
  • Once you've completed the creation of your account (or have logged in if you've previously created an account), you'll be taken to the dashboard for your account. From there, click on "Standard Application." You may also be eligible to register using the "Register One Work by One Author" link. Click on that link to see if you meet all the eligibility criteria for using that registration option.
  • Click on "Start Registration" and work your way through entering the information required. If at any time you need help, click on the Help link.
  • Once you've completed your application, pay the required fee. The U.S. Copyright Office accepts both debit and credit cards, or you can set up a deposit account if you prefer.
  • Finalize your registration application by submitting your book. In most cases, even though you're registering electronically, you'll need to submit a hard copy of your book. If this is the case, after you've submitted your application and paid the appropriate fee, you'll be directed to create and print a shipping label for submitting your book. If you meet the requirements for submitting an electronic copy of your book, you can upload your book instead. Be sure to check your eligibility for uploading an electronic copy of your book to see if you qualify. If you do qualify, the FAQs have the full details walking you through your upload.

Paper registration

If you would rather not use the electronic copyright registration system, you also have the option to mail in your registration application:

1. Download and print Form TX from the U.S. Copyright Office site.

2. Fill out the form. The first part of the form will walk you through all the information required for filling out the form properly.

3. Mail it in with the appropriate payment.

4. Finalize your registration application by submitting your book.

How much does it cost to copyright a book?

At the time of this article, the following are the fees required for each type of registration:

  • Electronic registration, single application (one work by one author): $45
  • Electronic registration, standard application: $65
  • Paper registration, Form TX: $125

Note, however, that the filing fees are subject to change; you can check the appropriate fees here.

Registering your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office is a quick and easy process. Registration can all be done online, or, if you prefer, you can mail in a print copy of your copyright application instead.

Make sure your work is protected START MY REGISTRATION
Joe Runge, Esq.

About the Author

Joe Runge, Esq.

Joe Runge graduated from the University of Iowa with a Juris doctorate and a master of science in molecular evolution. H… Read more

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of the author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.