All About ISBN


Originally posted on Go-Publish-Yourself

What is an ISBN Number?

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a thirteen-digit number that uniquely identifies a book regardless of format (hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook, etc). Books published before January 1, 2007 had ten-digit ISBNs. Since then, thirteen-digit ISBN numbers have become standard. An ISBN number is needed to sell your book through online or offline booksellers. Each edition of a book, whether in paperback, hardcover, eBook, audio, or other such form, requires a separate ISBN. This number, which is also embedded in the bar code on the book, allows libraries and booksellers to find information about the author, the author’s book, the book’s price, ordering information, and other related information. The ISBN attached to the book lists the publisher as the party to contact for information.

How To Get an ISBN Number

As said already, if you have different formats of your book (e.g., paperback, .mobi/Kindle, .epub, etc.) you will need different ISBNs for each. If you’re buying ISBNs on your own, you can either buy a single one for $125 (be aware that industry professionals are able to tell by the number that the book is a single “self” publication rather than part of a standard publisher’s block of numbers), or you can purchase a block of ten for $275 (which includes processing fees). You can assign them to any versions of any books you write (e.g., if you write three books and each has an eBook, paperback, and hardcover edition, you’d use nine of the ten ISBNs purchased). You can complete the entire ISBN process online. A non-priority application takes about ten days to process.

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7 comments on “All About ISBN

  1. I’d dispute “An ISBN number is needed to sell your book through online or offline booksellers”! They may be desirable, but they aren’t needed, as such. Some sellers require them, but not all. Amazon, largest of them all, doesn’t require them, for one.

    • Nice point you got there Steve. Amazon does not require you to have an ISBN if you are publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing. But it still assign your book a unique 10-digit identification number called as “ASIN” or Amazon Standard Identification Number. An ISBN is only mandatory to have if you are planning to make your book a “paper book” and be available in various bookstores.

      • If all countries followed the lead of New Zealand and Canada, by making ISBNs free, then perhaps there’s be more inclination to get them for ebooks 😉 The ASIN works well, and you can get free ISBNs through folk like Smashwords, but nly for ebooks you publish through them, and (as far as I know) only for the ePub version. I’m still a long way from worrying about “paper books” 🙂

  2. […] All About ISBN (selfpubadvocate.wordpress.com) […]

  3. Rattling nice pattern and good subject matter, hardly anything else we need D. eeedfkbeadgc

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