The Importance of Getting an ISBN When Self Publishing

The Importance of Getting an ISBN When Self Publishing

When looking to self-publish the smart way, one of the single most important things to do is getting an ISBN, which stands for ‘International Standard Book Number’.

Your ISBN is your book’s 13 digit identification number, assigned to your book intended to be sold in the retail marketplace and serves as your book’s identifier in the international book publishing and distribution system.

Obtaining an ISBN from Bowker(US) or BowkerAU(AUS) is essentially the next step after creating your own publishing company imprint, because Bowker will register and assign your publishing name to your ISBN’s, which makes you the publisher of your books and not just an author. Part of the essence of self-publishing the smart way.

Why is this important?

For a few reasons;

  1. Being setup as a publisher with your own ISBN’s means you access one of the greatest channels for printing and distribution for self publishers, Lightning Source and CreateSpace. These companies will allow you to print cheaper copies and give you access to wider distribution. Lightning Source (LSI) only deals with publishers and not authors directly, but grants you access to Ingram, the world’s largest book distributor
  2. Having your own ISBN’s under your publishing name helps you cut out a middle man, such as subsidy presses which have hefty markups on book printing orders and also take a percentage of sales
  3. This also allows you free access to the all-important ‘Books In Print’ (BIP) where you can change the bibliographic information and meta-data for your book’s listing, used by libraries, distributors and retailers around the world
  4. You are eliminating the visual cue of a self published author. Having “published by author name” on your Amazon listing, does nothing for your credibility. Being seen to be published by a company helps diminish any appearance of an amateur or first time author, which instils more trust in potential buyers
  5. If that illusive traditional publishing deal comes along off the back of your self publishing success, you have complete control to take or leave the offer, with no contracts or ties holding you back

Be aware when obtaining an ISBN, that you need a new ISBN for every book ‘product’ you release. This means you need an ISBN for your print version and another for your eBook version. They are considered as two separate retail products.

This means it’s important to forecast ahead somewhat and think of how many books you’ll be publishing in the future. It’s not cost effective to purchase just one ISBN and you are better off going with one of the packages available.

Here are the prices at the time of this writing.
*** Update***
MyIdentifiers AU

  • Single ISBN – $42
  • Block of 10 ISBN’s – $84
MyIdentifiers US
  • Single ISBN – $125
  • Block of 10 ISBN’s – $250

You are far better off (and what I recommend) to purchase a block of 10 ISBN’s, as you’ll no doubt have print and eBook versions, or you’ll likely publish more books in the future.

Also note, you’ll need a barcode for your print book and most retailers such as iBooks, Sony and B&N won’t accept eBook’s that don’t have unique ISBN’s.

As you can see it’s definitely advantageous getting an ISBN under your own publishing business, to give yourself the best chance of publishing for profit and success.

Article Reference

*** Update***

Purchase your ISBN’s and Barcodes here. The block of 10 ISBN’s is the best value, which is what I recommend you go with when True Self Publishing.
ISBN’s and Barcodes US – Bowker/MyIdentifiers – For authors and independent publishers in the USA.
ISBN’s and Barcodes Australia – Bowker/MyIdentifiers – For authors and independent publishers in the AUS.

Here’s to your publishing pursuits!

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