Legal deposit

What is legal deposit?

Legal deposit is the obligation for Belgian publishers and authors to deposit their publications with the Royal Library of Belgium.

As national library, KBR acquires and holds all publications :

  • published in Belgium
  • published abroad by authors of Belgian nationality and domiciled in Belgium.

Legal deposit is the legal basis that helps us carry out this task. It was established by the law of 8 April 1965 and came into force on 1 January 1966 in accordance with the provisions of the Royal Decree of 31 December 1965.

Thanks to legal deposit, our country’s cultural heritage will be preserved for future generations.

More about legal deposit

Why should I deposit my publications with KBR?
By depositing with KBR, you not only fulfil your legal obligation, but also ensure that your work remains accessible and preserved in optimal conditions over the long term. Moreover, KBR describes your publications using international standards such as ISSN and ISNI, making them findable and visible worldwide. Legal deposit also enables KBR to develop a unique collection over time, providing a global overview of national book and periodical production. As national library, KBR is also responsible for including all catalogue records as quickly and completely as possible in the ongoing Belgian Bibliography. The Belgian Bibliography serves as a permanent showcase of Belgium’s publishing heritage. Your deposits contribute to the development of this important source of information. Please deliver the required copies of your publications to legal deposit and help us preserve our cultural heritage.
Does legal deposit offer copyright protection?

Legal deposit is not a prerequisite for copyright protection. Copyright protection arises automatically from the very creation of an original work, with no formalities required.

For more information on copyright, visit the website of the FPS Economy.

Who is required to deposit?
Good to know!

The legal deposit obligation applies to :

  • all publishers of publications appearing in Belgium;
  • all authors of Belgian nationality and domiciled in Belgium whose publications appear abroad.

By “publisher”, the legislation means any natural or legal person who publishes or has published works at his own expense. This includes:

  • organisations that publish publications, whether they are professional publishers or occasional publishers, for example a non-profit association or a local history society;
  • co-publishers who edit a publication in collaboration with another organisation;
  • author-publishers, i.e. authors who publish their own publications at their own expense, with or without the help of a supplier for production or distribution.

By “author” we mean the natural person who has created an original work protected by copyright. More specifically, this may be:

  • the (co-)author of a text or screenplay;
  • the illustrator;
  • the (chief) editor or publishing

Belgian authors living abroad or Belgian translators are not obliged to register their works, but are cordially invited to do so on a voluntary basis.

What is the KBR register of publishers?

Since the introduction of legal deposit, KBR has kept a register of all Belgian organisations that publish publications. This register is called the “publishers’ register”, and is mainly used to monitor legal deposit.


Photo d'un ancien registre des éditeurs pour le dépôt légal

Who needs a publisher’s number?

Any organisation with a registered office in Belgium wishing to start publishing must first apply to KBR for a publisher’s number. This request can be made during the one-off registration as a depositor at KBR will enter this organisation in the register of publishers and communicate the number to the publisher. The publisher’s number is needed to compose a legal deposit number.

An author or self-publisher, on the other hand, does not need a publisher’s number.

Good to know!

Please note that the publisher number you receive from KBR is not the same as the registrant element issued by an ISBN agency to identify a particular publisher or imprint and forming part of an ISBN number.


What is a legal deposit number?

The legal deposit number is a compulsory part of every publication subject to legal deposit and published in Belgium. It generally appears in the colophon and always begins with “D/”, followed by the year of publication in the form “YYYY/”. Thereafter, the composition varies:

  • organisations then indicate their publisher number and a serial number in a continuous annual series

Example: D/2023/0020/0001

  • authors-publishers indicate their name and the word “publisher”.

Examples :

D/2023/Anne Janssens, publisher (one author)
D/2023/Anne Janssens and Piet Peeters, publishers (two authors)
D/2023/Anne Janssens et al, publishers (several authors)


Good to know!

In case of a new edition, it is necessary to redeposit the publication and to indicate a new legal deposit number.


When should I (re)deposit?

The legal deadline for deposit is :

  • within fifteen working days after the publication date for publications in Belgium;
  • within two months of publication for foreign publications.

A new deposit is required for each new edition, i.e. if significant changes are made to the content or form compared with previous editions of the publication.

This applies for changes to:

  • the title and/or subtitle of a publication;
  • cover design;
  • language of the text;
  • publisher name or imprint;
  • author name;
  • textual content other than minor corrections to misprints;
  • product form (e.g. from hardback to paperback, another size, etc.);
  • functional features (g. a font adapted for people with impaired vision).

If a work is reprinted (as good as) unchanged, it does not need to be re-deposited.

Which publications must be deposited?

Legal deposit applies to all publications:

  • published in Belgium;
  • published abroad by authors of Belgian nationality and domiciled in Belgium.

Legal deposit is compulsory as soon as you offer the publication to the public, even if it concerns:

  • a limited public, for example members of an association;
  • publications distributed free of charge;
  • publications without an ISBN;
  • publications with a limited edition or “print-on-demand” (POD).

Legal deposit applies to publications in several formats: printed publications, including microfilms, as well as documents published on physical digital media (DVD, CD, CD-ROM, USB key or floppy disk).

Digital publications (like e-books) are currently only deposited on a voluntary basis, pending a Royal Decree bringing the law of 8 July 2018 into force.

In terms of the length of works, legal deposit applies to non-periodical publications of at least five pages, not including the cover pages. These may include :

  • collections of texts, photographs, artistic or scientific plates consisting of single sheets compiled under a single cover;
  • geographical and other maps with printed text;
  • picture books;

Which publications should not be deposited?

Unless otherwise decided by KBR’s chief curator, legal deposit does not apply to works that are wholly or mainly advertising or of ephemeral interest (such as commercial catalogues and leaflets, telephone directories, timetables, price lists, calendars and diaries).

In terms of selling price, a cap has also been in place since 2008. Publishers and authors must make publications available free of charge, unless the selling price exceeds a ceiling amount. Publications priced above the cap must be made available via qrcbg@xoe.or so that KBR can purchase a copy if it wishes. The ceiling amount is adjusted in line with the index at the beginning of each calendar year:

For example, if the publication came out in 2014, the amount applied is 283 euros, which is the amount for that year of publication.

2024: 365 EUR 2023: 361 EUR 2022: 327 EUR 2021: 309 EUR
2020: 308 EUR 2019 : 305 EUR 2018 : 298 EUR 2017 : 292 EUR
2016 : 286 EUR 2015 : 282 EUR 2014 : 283 EUR 2013 : 280 EUR
2012 : 274 EUR 2011 : 265 EUR 2010 : 257 EUR 2009 : 256 EUR
2008 : 250 EUR


How do I register and submit publications?

You will find all the practical information you need to declare and submit your publications on Once you have registered and activated your depositor account, you can use this platform to :

  • declare printed publications by piece or in batch;
  • request bpost labels to send your deposit to KBR free of charge (within Belgium);
  • declare and deposit digital publications (PDF or EPUB files) by piece or in batch;
  • view the history of your declarations and deposits and download the PDF overview.
How do I send my publication?

By post

To send your publications (within Belgium) to legal deposit via bpost at KBR’s expense, you need to request a mailing label from Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Log in or create an account. Please note that this feature is currently only available in French or Dutch.
  2. Click on “Send a parcel” and fill in the form. Within 5 working days, you will receive an e-mail with the number of labels you have requested. There is a minimum of 4 labels, which remain valid until used. You use one label per parcel.
  3. Print the label and stick it on the parcel containing your publications. Drop the parcel off at bpost or a post office.

Order labels



KBR (Royal Library of Belgium)
Legal deposit
Place de la Justice 9
B-1000 Brussels


employée de KBR en train d'ouvrir un colis dans le s


Heavy or bulky parcels can be delivered to the same address:

KBR (Royal Library of Belgium)
Legal deposit
Place de la Justice 9
1000 Brussels

Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm. Ring the bell to the left of the garage door.
We recommend that you pack your parcels carefully so that the books are delivered in perfect condition.

How to get here


Employée en train de scanner un livre reçu via le dépôt légal

On site

If you would like to drop off your publication on site, please contact us to make an appointment:

Tel. +32 (0)2 519 56 36

We are available on working days, Monday to Friday from 9am to 12pm or from 2pm to 4pm.

What if I fail to deposit?

If you do not fulfil your deposit obligation, you may receive a registered demand from the Royal Library, giving you thirty days in which to deposit your publications.

If you fail to do so, or do so incorrectly, and at least thirty days after sending a registered demand, the Royal Library may, at your expense, purchase the work or works that have not been deposited.

In addition, you may be liable to an administrative fine of between 156 and 1,500 euros or, in case of a repeat offence within the year following a first offence, between 300 and 6,000 euros.

What exactly does the legislation say?

If you like to read the legal texts yourself, you can consult the consolidated versions of:

Or if it is the history of the legislation that interests you, you can consult the original version and its successive amendments:

Contact us

Do not hesitate to contact KBR’s Legal Deposit Department. Our staff will be happy to help you.

We are available on working days, Monday to Friday from 9am to 12pm or from 2pm to 4pm.