Book Publishing and ISBNs … Do You Need Them?

ISBN

Do authors need ISBNs? If you plan on selling your book, the answer is yes. If you are creating something that is not for re-sale—from the family history to your high school reunion … most likely not. How many should you have … just the one for your book or do you need others? What about eBooks and other book formats? Below are answers to the top three questions that I frequently get:

Should you eBook have an ISBN?
Most will respond, “It depends.” If you plan to have your eBook available for iPad readers, than you must have an ISBN. Remember, your ISBN is the ID that the rest of the book retail world sees. It’s mandatory if your book is available in bookstores as well as with distributors and wholesalers. Amazon doesn’t require one—you get assigned the Amazon ASIN number–which stands for Amazon Standard Book Number. If you already have an ISBN, then you will enter that number during the publishing process with them–just click on the upload image tab. Others, such as B&N’s new PubIt doesn’t require it … they will assigned you a number

“It depends,” is technically correct … but if there’s just one format that requires it … the answer is YES.

My advice: just do it.
If you have a print edition, put all ISBNs on the © page stating which format is which.

Can you use the same ISBN for print and eBook formats?
In a nutshell—no. Each is a unique edition and requires an identity. Think of the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) as your book’s Social Security number. It’s the magic number that keeps track of what is selling. Beware, Beware, Beware of publishers who lump books together and register all their books with a master ISBN for sales to outlets such as Amazon. What are they? Crooks. This has been a practice with some of the vanity presses.

The International ISBN Agency recommends that publishers assign ISBNs to each format. That means print, eBook, audio, video and anything else that comes along.

How many ISBNs should you get?
Start with 10 (it’s cheaper to buy them this way). Go straight to www.Bowker.com and purchase them for $275 (includes process fee). It identifies your “publishing house” and gives you enough to cover the current edition, as well as any revised. Keep in mind: you need a different number for each format—hardback; paperback; audio; video; eBook, etc. If your book goes from hardback to paper, it’s another number. If you revise your book or create a new edition, it’s a new number.

 

2014_JBriles-1Judith Briles is known as The Book Shepherd a book publishing expert and coach. She is the Founder of Author U, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. Judith is the author of 31 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (ForeWord Indie/Fab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences.
Become part of her inner circle by joining the Author’s Ark and exclusive monthly webinar and coaching event. Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Unplugged, a two day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. Her audio and workbook series, Creating Your Book and Author Platform is now available. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for Author U – Your Guide to Book Publishing on the Toginet Network at http://tinyurl.com/AuthorURadio . Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU and Judith Briles – TheBookShepherd on Facebook. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact Judith at Judith@Briles.com.

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