What is an ISBN?

isbn If you are publishing a novel or any written work , you might be asking yourself what is an ISBN and do you need one. Until recently most writer’s never had to worry about this publishing responsibility your brick and mortar publishing company took care of this. Now, if you’re a self publisher, you might be able to publish your masterpiece without one. E-Books published under Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble will provide you with a ISBN, they become your publishers ~ your work is still your own. 

  • ISBN = International Standard Book Number
  • it’s a 13 digit number (It used to be 10.)
  • it’s printed on the copyright page
  • The ISBN identifies the title and edition of a book and the publisher to be contacted for ordering the book
  • each edition or format of a book gets its own ISBN
  • Who buys the ISBN?  The publisher.

If you plan on printing a hard copy physical book then you MUST purchase an ISBN code. Bookstores track books solely by their ISBNs.  If you’re selling your printed book on your own website without the benefit of submitting to stores or libraries or with wholesalers, it’s not required.

You may buy ISBNs one at a time or in quantity from Bowker. In the U.S., one ISBN costs $125. Larger orders get a discount, so if you’re certain you’ll be self-publishing at least two books (or two formats of the same book), then you may want to purchase ten ISBNs for $295 and use the rest later. (Sorry, once assigned, ISBNs are non-transferable.)

International ISBN

Australia

United Kingdom

Canadian  {when last checked ISBN were free}

ISBN Fields of Information

isbn_detail For more updated information please visit Here

If you self-publish and plan to sell print versions, you may want a bar-code on the cover as few book merchants actually read the ISBN numbers anymore, they scan them. You can turn a number into a bar-code for $25.

T. Otelia

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