In the publishing industry, an imprint can mean several different things:
- A piece of bibliographic information about a book, it refers to the name and address of the book's publisher and its date of publication as given at the foot or on the verso of its title page.
- It can mean a trade name under which a work is published. One single publishing company may have multiple imprints; the different imprints are used by the publisher to market works to different demographic consumer segments. In some cases, the diversity results from the takeover of smaller publishers (or parts of their business) by a larger company. This usage of the word has evolved from the first meaning given above. Imprints typically have a defining character or mission. For example, the objective of Viking, an imprint of The Penguin Group, is “To publish a strictly limited list of good nonfiction, such as biography, history and works on contemporary affairs, and distinguished fiction with some claim to permanent importance rather than ephemeral popular interest.”
- It can also refer to a finer distinction of a book's version than "edition". This is used to distinguish, for example different printings, or printing runs of the same edition, or to distinguish the same edition produced by a different publisher or printer. With the creation of the "ISBN" identification system, which is assigned to a text prior to its printing, a different imprint has effectively come to mean a text with a different ISBN—if one had been assigned to it.
- Under the UK Printer's Imprint Act 1961, which amended the earlier Newspapers, Printers, and Reading Rooms Repeal Act 1869, any printer must put their name and address on the first or last leaf of every paper or book they print or face a penalty of up to £50 per copy. In addition, under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, any election material - including websites - must show the name of the promoter of the material and the name and address of the person on whose behalf it is being published.
Examples of imprints/publishing brand names
Below are a few examples of imprints (in the meaning of brand names), sorted by publishing company in alphabetical order. It shows the diversity of imprints and how widely they are used in the publishing industry. This list is intended to show examples, not be a comprehensive list, so no more than a few imprints per publishing house are given. Notice that it is possible for imprints to be organized under a publisher that is itself an imprint of an even larger publishing house.
- Cowley (1970, pp. 29–32, 77–88)
- http://yodiwan.com/2009/07/14/what-is-an-imprint/ What is an imprint?
- http://www.us.penguingroup.com/static/pages/publishers/adult/viking.html About Viking
- British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF): Imprint Requirements (doc)
- Cowley, John Duncan (1970), Bibliographical description and cataloguing, New York: Burt Franklin