Don’t fall for the free ISBNs!

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You may be aware that for a lot of online book distributors, you don’t need an ISBN to publish your ebook. If you want to publish a print copy or an ebook with Apple’s iBooks, you need an ISBN.

I think you should get an ISBN anyway, even if you don’t have to get one. Then you can publish it anywhere.

You will need one number for each version of your book, meaning, one for the print version, one for an audiobook version (if you decide to go that route), and one for your ebook version. I’ve been told that you need a separate one for EPUB and MOBI, but I’m not sure. It doesn’t sound right. It’s just the electronic form of the book.

Online distributors will tell you that if you get your ISBN through them, it is absolutely free and that’s great, especially for me here in Australia where we have to pay for them.

But…

DON’T DO IT! Even if ISBNs are free in your country. Why? Because if you get a number through Amazon’s CreateSpace, Smashwords, Lulu, Ingram Spark, and whoever else offers them, then THEY are the owners of the ISBN, NOT YOU! You won’t be able to use that number anywhere else! If you decide that you don’t want to publish through Smashwords anymore, you can’t use that ISBN on Amazon. And vice versa.

Find out about how much it costs, or if it’s free where you are, and get your own. Here in Australia, it costs $44 for one ISBN, $88 for 10, and $480 for 100. I went with the 10.

Bowker.com is the place to go. They are the official ISBN Agency. For Australia, it’s Thorpe-Bowker and the website is www.myidentifiers.com.au.

If you publish a print book, you’ll need a barcode for the book. In Australia, barcodes are $45 each if you buy between 1-5 barcodes. From 6-10, it’s $40 each. 11 plus and they’re $35 each.

Yes, I know. More money. Every time you turn around, someone wants your hard-earned cash, but it is worth it to OWN your ISBNs and barcodes. Then you can have total control over their use.

One thing to note: You can’t use the same ISBN for different books. If you decide to take a book off the market and you’re never going to sell it anywhere again, you can’t reuse that ISBN. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. It’s because there still might be copies of it floating around out there, being sold second-hand on eBay or Amazon. New book, new number.

Same goes if you change your author name, like I did. I went from my married name, Susan Carter, to my maiden name, Susan McKenzie, and used up another two ISBNs and another barcode. But that was my choice. If – I mean when – I become famous, I don’t want it to be under my married name when I’m not using it anymore. If I ever get married again, I’m not going to change my author name. It really was a pain in the neck to do. But that’s another story.

So, it’s all up to you, of course, but the whole idea of self-publishing is to have control over all aspects of the publishing process.

I hope this has been helpful to you.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

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