I recently noticed that in the book "Investing for Dummies" by Eric Tyson, the copyright is listed for 2021, even if at the time of making this post the year is still 2020. How is this possible? How can a copyright year be in the future?

Copyright and Publishing information for the book

  • Well, the 2021 models of cars are out now, so why not books?
    – GEdgar
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 22:02
  • The second listed answer does answer my question, yes. Unfortunately, I only looked at the top answer to that question, which seemed confusing to me, especially as it stated that "[t]he date shown is more than likely the date that they received confirmation of the copyright registration from the office." On seeing that answer, I thought: how can the US copyright office confirm a registration in the future? The second answer, as well as the answer to the question I accepted, seems to answer my question more directly, however. Thanks! Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 22:40

1 Answer 1


As I understand it, anything published after a certain date, possibly in September, gets the following year's date. It is merely a convention. I don't know if it started with publishing textbooks or not, but that would make a bit of sense. The academic year starts in September in many places.

The convention may only apply to certain kinds of books and only in certain places, but the practice is long standing.

Copyright is very long now, but back when it was shorter an extra year meant something. And publishing late in the year would, in essence, be giving up a year of protection.

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