Report on the state of publication of books in Macao (2020)

6 July 2021

According to the Legal Deposit Regime regarding Macao publications, the Department of Public Library Management under the Cultural Affairs Bureau is responsible for the collection, preservation and management of local publications and the provision of materials for research purposes. In accordance with the statistics on registration of the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) requests provided by the Macao ISBN Agency, 759 books were slated for publication in 2020, a slight decrease of 30 books in comparison with 2019, which indicates that in general, local publications have not been significantly impacted by the pandemic. In 2020, 766 publications were submitted to the Macao Central Library for collection under the Legal Deposit Regime, including 696 printed books, 68 e-books and 2 types of books in other media.

In 2020, a total of 70 new publishers submitted applications to join the ISBN system (including 1 government department, 3 schools, 23 commercial organizations, 10 civic organizations and 33 individuals), adding up to an accumulative total of 1,089 publishers (categories of publishers: 69 government departments, 38 schools, 227 commercial organizations, 429 civic organizations, 307 individuals and 19 other special groups). This shows a 17-fold increase in comparison with the 62 publishers registered in 2000 when the ISBN Agency was founded. The data shows a steady development of the publishing industry in the Macao SAR and an increased awareness of ISBN application among publishers. The international standardization of book publication has facilitated the promotion of Macao’s books in the international market.

The process of ISBN application is simple: download the application form at the Macao Public Library website at before the publication is revised and ready for printing, then submit the completed application form together with one copy of the finalized cover page, title page and copyright page to the Macao ISBN Agency (address: No. 3, Sir Robert Ho Tung Library, Santo Agostinho Square, 2nd Floor, Macao). Application is free. Upon obtaining a provisional ISBN number, the applicant should add the number onto the copyright page and back cover and send the book to be printed. After that, applicants must submit two copies of sample prints to the Macao ISBN Agency for confirmation of the ISBN, after which the ISBN will officially come into effect. First-time applicants are required to submit a copy of the supporting documents of commercial registration or social organization registration, whereas individual publishers are required to submit a copy of the corresponding Macao Resident Identity Card. The ISBN Agency will reply to applicants within three working days starting from the day after all the required documents are received.

The Department of Public Library Management of the Cultural Affairs Bureau has systematically collected documents related to political, economic, social, historical and technological aspects of Macao. All publications in the Macao SAR, regardless of what form, category, replica method, or whether they are products on sale or distributed free of charge, are subject to the supervision of the Legal Deposit Regime. For more information about the relevant regulations and services, please visit the Macao ISBN Agency website at and refer to the “infographic regarding the Legal Deposit Regime and services of Macao publications”, or contact the Macao ISBN Agency on 8598 6600 and 8598 6660 during office hours.
(Cultural Affairs Bureau)

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