Self Publishing Info

Promoting and Selling Your Book

If your book has general appeal we recommend Nationwide Book Distributors as a company that can market books to retail book stores for you. See

If your book is a local New Zealand history, family history, New Zealand sporting topic, war history, community interest or specialist subject book we may be able to have it marketed for you through Smith's Bookshop. See


If a barcode is required (on the back cover to aid booksellers) then we can create it for you. First you must obtain an ISBN because the barcode is made using the same number. We will provide a professionally made bar code and insert it into your cover design. The cost is $40.

You should consider a barcode if you intend to sell your book commercially.




An ISBN is an International Standard Book Number that is used as a world-wide identification code for books. It enables books to be easily located and ordered and is generally printed on the reverse side of the title page and the back cover. It is not a legal requirement to have an ISBN and is usually only recommended when a book is for wider distribution, outside of a family group or club for example.

An ISBN should be assigned to a book upon its first publication. The New Zealand Standard Book Numbering Agency which operates within the National Library of New Zealand assigns ISBN's free of charge to all books published in New Zealand.If you are having us print your book then you are the publisher and therefore we recommend that you obtain an ISBN yourself.

To acquire an ISBN contact:

The ISBN Librarian

New Zealand Standard Book Numbering Agency

PO Box 1467


Telephone (04) 4743074

Fax (04) 4743161



You can apply for an ISBN number online at

Legal Deposit

Legal Deposit applies to any person, group or organisation that publishes material, for sale or free of charge, to any section of the public. This includes individuals, clubs, churches and incorporated societies, as well as commercial publishers.

Legal Deposit provisions apply to print publishing (for example, books, magazines, newsletters). Publishers of printed materials are required to deposit two copies of their publication with the National Library.

Legal Deposit also applies to electronic publishing (for example, CDs, DVDs, Internet documents).

For more comprehensive current information see,

The address is;

Legal Deposit Office

National Library of New Zealand

P O Box 12340

Wellington 6144


These notes should be regarded as a guide only. The law of copyright is complex and people requiring detailed information, particularly if they have a highly valuable work, should refer to a lawyer or possibly a patent attorney who works in the field of intellectual property. Also, more details can be found in (the most recent edition of) the text “News Media Law In New Zealand”, J.F. Burrows, Oxford University Press.

In New Zealand Copyright doesn't need to be formally registered, although it is usual for books to carry a notice on the back of the title page claiming copyright which reads something like:

Copyright (date of first publication) (author's name)

This book is copyright. Except for the purpose of fair review, no part may be stored or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including recording or storage in any information retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. No reproduction may be made, whether by photocopying or by any other means, unless a licence has been obtained from the publisher or its agent.

This is very explicit. It is also common for writers to merely print;

Copyright (date of first publication) (author’s name)

Anything that has been created through someone’s brainpower can be subject to copyright, whether a book, essay, poem, letter or work of art. There is however no copyright on ideas or information.

Copyright may still exist in a work written under a pseudonym or by "Anonymous".

Copyright expires fifty years after the end of the year in which a person dies (assuming the work was published during their lifetime). Until that time, to quote their work in print you are obliged to get their permission or, if they are dead, the permission of whoever is in charge of their estate (their literary executor).

Computer generated works have a duration of fifty years copyright from the end of the calendar year in which the work is made. Photographs are now treated as an artistic work so they have the life of the maker plus fifty years.

In the case of commissioning a work the person who agrees to pay for the taking of a photograph, or the making of a computer program, painting, diagram, map, chart, plan, engraving, model, sculpture, film or sound recording is the commissioner and becomes the owner of the work. 

Copyright can be sold or assigned, so the author of a book or article is not always the copyright owner. For example, when journalists write for a fee or salary, their terms of employment may be that their employer buys the copyright in the articles they produce. To quote from a book, magazine or newspaper, you should write directly to the publisher in the first instance. Be sure to quote in full the exact passage you want to use, and tell them enough about your book so they will get a clear idea of the purpose to which the quoted passage will be put and your reason for wanting to quote it.

With a small print run it can be a good idea to state how many copies you are going to have printed and what the price will be, as this may help to show that you are not going to make a lot of money out of the exercise, therefore they may not charge you.

Instead of quoting the book verbatim, you may sometimes be able to get around the copyright issue by paraphrasing the material you want to quote. It's all a matter of degree: to paraphrase the information in a sentence or two is one thing, but to paraphrase a whole chapter is quite another.