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ISBN - needed or not???


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#1 ken48255

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 01:16 PM

I'm getting ready to publish a book on Kindle.  I'm debating on getting an ISBN.  Any thoughts on this?  Everyone I speak with has a different opinion.



#2 mwsinclair

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 04:16 PM

This might help a bit. There are many other thoughts on the matter elsewhere, too.

http://www.fromthewr...ary-primer.html



#3 Blueberry Tide

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 04:42 PM

It might be different between traditional publishing and ebook publishing, however from my experience working in a library, an ISBN is one of the main ways we search and catalog books. Of course, those are print books, but it's an important way to mark your book and have it easily searchable.

#4 mwsinclair

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 04:46 PM

Long story short: If you're self-publishing a book, it needs an ISBN. The question is really about whether you'll buy your own or use the "free" one provided by a place like Smashwords. But strictly speaking, they become the publisher. That might be fine for you.



#5 ken48255

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 05:06 PM

Thanks - this was very helpful :).  



#6 AQCrew

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 05:34 PM

If you are only publishing on Amazon through their KDP Self-Publishing platform, you do NOT need an ISBN.  Amazon has their own coding system and they assign every kindle book their own unique identifier which is called an ASIN.

 

If you are going to self-publish a print book only through Amazon's CreateSpace as well as publish your ebook as a kindle book on Amazon only, you still don't need to buy your own ISBN because Amazon will assign you a CreateSpace owned ISBN.  However, that's where things get tricky and where there might be pros and cons of having your own...

 

We are fairly certain you can self-publish an ebook and directly distribute it through Kobo and Barnes and Noble without having your own ISBN, but it's been awhile since we bothered with those venders, and we have actually heard it's more beneficial to go through Draft2Digital when publishing an ebook and distributing it to Barnes and Noble (that's really a whole 'nother post).

 

The short answer is: if you are a newbie to self-publishing and you are only publishing ebooks at this time AND if you are worried about incurring extra expenses, we say...don't bother with your own ISBN until you're really certain you're in it for the long-haul.

 

That said, many AQC members have been self-publishing for awhile now and there likely are many opinions about this.. Personally, we have always ponied up the extra cash for our own ISBNs and here are some of the times you might find them helpful (see below).  But this is really only when you are pretty far down the path of successfully self-publishing...

 

If you are publishing your ebook directly through Apple (eg. not using Smashwords or D2D to distribute them to Apple for you), it's very helpful to have your own ISBN assigned to your ebook.

 

If you want to promote your ARCS through Netgalley on your own (not via hiring a blog tour company or being part of a co-op), you have to have an ISBN for your ebook.

 

If you are trying to make the USAToday Best Sellers list with a newly released book priced at 0.99, it's helpful to have your own ISBN.  (if you don't already know this, many successful indie authors are hitting the USAToday Best Seller list on their own (not via a mega bundle anthology) after only two or three years of self-publishing their first book.

 

If you are not going through Amazon Createspace's expanded distribution but still want to distribute to the major outlets, you will need your own ISBNs *NOTE: Amy Collins and her website is the go-to resource on this topic: http://www.newshelve...distribution-2/

 

If you are creating and distributing your own audiobooks through ACX, it's helpful to have your own ISBNs.



#7 LucidDreamer

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 05:40 PM

If you want to sell to libraries, you need an ISBN, that much I do know.



#8 AQCrew

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 05:44 PM

Long story short: If you're self-publishing a book, it needs an ISBN. The question is really about whether you'll buy your own or use the "free" one provided by a place like Smashwords. But strictly speaking, they become the publisher. That might be fine for you.

 

Just to clarify: you mean a print book.  And yes, the point is extremely valid.  It depends on how you want to obtain that ISBN, and who you want that book traced back to as the publisher-of-record.






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