I'm still confused about the term imprint.

In some entries:
- Heyne is used as an imprint for the Wilhelm Heyne Verlag
- Bastei Lübbe for Bastei Lübbe Verlag GmbH
- Ravensburger for Ravensburger Buchverlag Otto Maier GmbH
- ...

I always did it in the same way but now I wonder if they are really imprints or simply a short version of the publisher name.

Hopefully somebody can clarify this for me.

They could be both a short version of the publisher name and an imprint. Sometimes it is difficult to interpret the role.

Generally, I use the publisher name listed on the copyright page as the Publisher (just be aware that this information can appear elsewhere). It could be a full company name as opposed to a shortened version.

The Imprint is usually shown on the cover (together with the company logo) or on the title page and this could be a short version of the publisher name, but it could be something totally different. For example: Hamish Hamilton as an imprint of Penguin Group.

As I commented to another user who recently asked the same question: don't stress about it.

I'm still confused about the term imprint. [...]
I wonder if they are really imprints or simply a short version of the publisher name.

This is a question that comes up quite often, and not only here but also on other book sites. Unfortunately there is no simple answer, or clear definition of an imprint.

It's basically for the publisher to decide what it is (imprint, trade name, trademark, abbreviated name, etc.), and whether to tell it to the public or not.

Some publishers state imprints, etc. on their books, and some have lists on their websites. Help can also be found from trademark and company registries, from online libraries and archives, and of course from any publications related to the publisher.

The placement on the book can give you hints, but as every publisher has their own method and the method can change with time, it can be also very misleading. I would not make assumptions based on the placement unless I was familar with the publisher.

Sometimes there's no information about the name anywhere, and at that point there's no other choice than to just enter everything according to the best of your knowledge. Luckily updating data is relatively easy here.

"An imprint of a publisher is a trade name under which it publishes a work. A single publishing company may have multiple imprints, often using the different names as brands to market works to various demographic consumer segments."

Source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imprint_(trade_name)

We have a page for imprints too: https://books.discogs.com/wiki/what-is-an-imprint

Neither of the pages are sufficient to answer the question here, whether all these company logos and abbreviated names are really imprints, and what to do with them.

In my country most publishers use an abbreviated name or a logo on their covers, similarly to the examples in the first post. A couple of them have been recently credited as imprints even though that is not necessarily factual.

I know that we have a load of "imprints" in the database that are not really imprints, but I'd prefer if the Imprint credit was used for actual imprints, and maybe for registered trade names if needed.

I'd prefer if the Imprint credit was used for actual imprints, and maybe for registered trade names if needed

Can I derive from your comment that users only credit the role imprint when the role is explicitly credited that way, or there is a verifiable source that it is a registered trademark?

One other thing. You must have a better understanding of the term 'imprint' than I do, as you don't consider the Wikipedia and Bookogs definitions adequate. Can you provide a better definition for my elucidation?

thethrowback wrote:

Can I derive from your comment that users only credit the role imprint when the role is explicitly credited that way, or there is a verifiable source that it is a registered trademark?

I wouldn't be that strict, but yes, I'd like to see a more factual approach. But it's more like wishful thinking as I know the current system would make it difficult as we would be missing some needed credit roles.

That said, I'm not against a less factual, more relaxed approach, which seems to be prevailing one where basically all logos, brands, trade names etc. are treated as imprints.

It would be probably good to agree on what the Imprint credit role is for so that everyone is on the same page.

thethrowback wrote:

you don't consider the Wikipedia and Bookogs definitions adequate.

No, I don't, especially for our purposes. Their definitions are just part of the truth, they are generalizations. Both articles could elaborate more on the situations where an imprint does not follow their definition, and especially our wiki could guide more on identification, and how to differentiate between an imprint and a publisher series, for example.

But I feel like that is a different discussion.

It would be probably good to agree on what the Imprint credit role is for so that everyone is on the same page

I concur with that statement. If we can agree on that then it would be helpful to include this information in the Guidelines. I agree a more factual approach is optimal (that should be the mantra of the site).

But I feel like that is a different discussion.

I don't think it is a different discussion. My understanding of the term imprint is basically encapsulated in the definition given by the Wikipedia article. I assume you have a different understanding and it would be helpful to know exactly how this differs. I can't grasp the inadequacy of the definition if I don't know exactly what is lacking, and this might have relevance as to how the term is used on this site.

Does anyone else have opinions about the use of the Imprint credit role?

If we agree on the more factual approach, then we should try to also to discuss how to achieve that. Does there need to be a source for it? Does it need to meet some definition?

I assume you have a different understanding and it would be helpful to know exactly how this differs.

Hopefully this will lead to something constructive...

To be clear, I never said the article/definition is wrong, just that it's insufficient, as "not enough", especially not for our purposes.

The Bookogs wiki page is better as it is only about books, and it has better examples even though it does make it seem as if imprints are something only used by big publishing houses when that's not true, they are also used by smaller publishers, editors and even authors.

We would need an article/page/definition that helps us to identify an imprint on books from all around the world, also elaborating on the other similar concepts, such as publisher series, trade names and even company logos.

The problem is that in the end it's in the publisher's discression what to call an imprint and how to present it, and not all imprints necessarily follow any existing definition.

For example, NYRB Classics is an imprint, while Barnes & Noble Classics is a series. (At least according to publisher websites)

What's the difference? Both have:
- Dedicated brand and unified design
- Mission to publish classic works in an affordable format
- Credit "NYRB/B&N Classics, published by NYRB/Barnes & Noble Books"

I have had books from both, and without consulting the publisher websites, I would've actually bet the other way around: that NYRB Classics is a series and B&N Classics is an imprint, as one of the few differences is that NYRB Classics have the publisher's name (NYRB) on the title page, while B&N Classics have B&N Classics.

So, the only way to "know" the correct role is to consult the publishers.

But - if we go with the more factual approach, we do need to figure out what to do in cases when we do not have an official or other authoritative source.

One way to go would be to just to use Imprint if it is stated in the book as such. I have seen publisher's become imprints and imprints become publishers.

Just to be clear my comments are not meant to be combative. I'm not running some hidden agenda and I enter these Forum discussions to improve the site. I never thought, or inferred that you were suggesting the Wiki or Bookogs definitions are incorrect, simply that you felt they were deficient in some way. I just want to know what you believe is missing so I can gain a better understanding of your definition.

Now let's move forward.

It is a vexed topic because as you rightly point out there is ambiguity around what defines an imprint and a publisher series. They could be registered trademarks and I have even seen a publisher's website refer to them as both.

Additionally, as Supernaut1970 commented, something that began as a publisher can over time become an imprint (or vice versa, or a publisher series). The exact point where this happens can be difficult to determine.

One way to go would be to just to use Imprint if it is stated in the book as such

That could be a solution. I tend to think that data in a submission should faithfully record exactly what is listed without any interpretation. In practice, that is not always possible.

If we strictly adhere to that rule, then it is doubtful that a publisher series would ever be credited, because in my experience it is never explicitly stated that way in the book. Similarly, the role of imprint is largely inferred. I have submitted books that credit 'X is an imprint of Z', but they are in the minority.

Maybe it is sufficient that a user adds the publisher and imprint to the best of their ability; the data might not be factually correct, but at least that book will appear in the respective databases.

I have seen publisher's become imprints and imprints become publishers.

True. The role does not always remain the same, but things evolve. Random House is a good example and trying to determine the exact role in all cases is probably impossible.

Maybe it is sufficient that a user adds the publisher and imprint to the best of their ability; the data might not be factually correct, but at least that book will appear in the respective databases.

That is definitely sufficient, and I think that represents well the current situation.

I would still suggest that we try to be factual whenever we can. But since there are very complicated and uncertain cases, I agree that we should be pretty flexible with it all. I'd rather have users feel they can record every and any entity mentioned on the book than limit it with some arbritrary rules and definitions, especially when we have a limited amount of credit roles to choose from.

So in the case of "Heyne", for example, if there's no information what it is, then it could be still recorded. There are both Publisher and Imprint credits, so probably either one of those works. Neither might be factual, but it's a mission impossible to keep all the logos out of the database, especially when a lot of users come from Discogs.

Would "xxxxx Books are published by yyyyy, Inc." confirm that xxxxx is an imprint of yyyyy?

It's an indicator that the "xxxxx Books" might be an imprint. But I've seen that wording used for series as well, so I wouldn't trust that alone.

Though, as these things seem to be often pretty ambiguous, it would be probably acceptable to treat "xxxxx Books" as an imprint based on that phrase alone, even without doing further research.

I know I've done it... :)

Coming back to my initial question, wouldn't it be good to use the full name (e.g. Wilhelm Heyne Verlag) as Publisher and have and additional role for the short name on the cover?

For example https://books.discogs.com/book/728328-der-gotteswahn the Publisher is Ullstein Buchverlage GmbH, the imprint is Ullstein Taschenbuch and the however we call it "cover name" is Ullstein.

I apologise if we lost you during the debate, but that's basically what this conversation has tried to define.

I would interpret Ullstein as an imprint (but that could be incorrect).

I'm not sure how you would classify Ullstein Taschenbuch. In English that translates as Ullstein paperback. That could be an imprint, or a publisher series, or it could be a publishing arm of Ullstein Buchverlage GmbH. Without further research it is difficult to say.

Where exactly is Ullstein Taschenbuch credited in your submitted book https://books.discogs.com/book/728328-der-gotteswahn ?

No need to apologise.

On the copyright page the first line is "Neuausgabe im Ullstein Taschenbuch" which means "New edition by Ullstein Taschenbuch".

Looking at the webpage of Ullstein Buchverlage Gmbh, they write about ten imprints: https://www.ullstein-buchverlage.de/verlage/ullsteinbuchverlage.html (German). 13 logos are shown on that page and one of them is "Ullstein Taschenbuch". So it could be an imprint or a publisher series or maybe a publisher belonging to a bigger publisher.

The cover only shows ullstein. This is the same for all Ullstein and Ullstein Taschenbuch titles.

I was hoping someone else would reply to your question. I wouldn't like to hazard a guess. I find it difficult enough trying to sort out English language publishers / imprints / publisher series without the added problems of Google translate.

Maybe a German contributer can assist with this matter.

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