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What is an ISBN number and how to get one?

Many authors believe that getting an ISBN Number for a self-publish book is challenging, but it’s relatively easy!

So, if you want to print and self-publish your book, the best decision you can make is to get your ISBN.

Whether self-published or not, every printed book needs an ISBN, and obtaining this number is a significant stage in any book publishing effort.

Many writers starting their journey to become authors still have many questions about this topic.

How to Obtain an ISBN Number

If you’re self-publishing, you might be wondering…

How do I go about getting an ISBN for my book?

Do I need to purchase one, or can I get it free from KDP or an aggregator?

Roughly speaking, how much does an ISBN cost?

Are ISBNs only necessary for big-name publishers?

In particular, if you’re self-publishing a book, there are questions you likely have about ISBNs. In this post, we answer common queries and give information on how to buy, register and imprint your ISBN.

·         ISBN of a book – Do you know what it is?

ISBNs, International Standard Book Numbers, are 13-digit numbers that identify books and book-like products uniquely. ISBNs differentiate between language, publisher, edition, and book format. Furthermore, the ISBN number is globally put in use to maintain standardization across all book versions.

ISBNs are only required for printed books sold in retail bookstores, libraries, or wholesale companies. You don’t need an ISBN number if you’re publishing an eBook or a book that won’t be distributed to retailers.

·         Can ISBN be self-published?

A self-publisher is also a publisher, so you must submit an ISBN application like everyone else.

·         If you’re self-publishing a book, how do you get an ISBN?

The method for obtaining an ISBN as a self-publisher is the same as for any other publisher or author. An ISBN can be purchased or acquired for free through your self-publishing platform.

There are two ways to obtain an ISBN for a self-published book:

1.       Purchase an ISBN from a source in your area that your region recognizes.

2.       You’ll soon receive a free ISBN from your self-publishing platform.

We’ll go through these stages in more detail later in this post because you will use the same method to apply for an ISBN number for a self-published book.

You can purchase an ISBN if you’re a resident of the United States or obtain one for free through Amazon’s KDP. If you opt to upload your content on different platforms instead, they will provide you with an ISBN at no cost.

However, as we’ll note in this post, ensure you have only one ISBN associated with your self-published book and not several numbers strewn about various platforms.

·         Why were ISBNs created for books in the first place?

MI6 recruited Gordon Foster, a young mathematician, as a codebreaker during WW2. His task was to scan millions of numbers for patterns that would indicate the Japanese military’s code.

Many years later, they approached Gordon Foster when the book industry needed a way to track and organize the increasing number of titles published yearly. His task was to write a report on creating such a system. It was ab ultimate help in bringing the development of the ISBN system. This is of high use worldwide.

·         What is the maximum number of digits an ISBN may have?

The ISBN is a 13-digit number because of the large number of eBooks published yearly. Before that, however, the ISSN was a ten-digit number for over thirty years. Indeed, the conversion tool can now convert older 10-digit ISBNs into 13-digit codes.

·         What is the point of an ISBN?

An ISBN assigns to each publishing book and each edition of the same book. An ISBN also identifies the publisher of the book.

Moreover, the ISBN is the standard number to identify books by booksellers, libraries, book wholesalers, and distributors.

·         What exactly do the ISBNs represent?

If you know how to read the ISBN, you can learn a lot about a book, its author, and the publisher.

The ISBN Number divides into five sections, each providing specific information:                      

1.       The first three digits in an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) are always “978.”

2.       To find the language of a book, reference the International ISBN Agency and look for a “0” or “1” next to the title.

3.       Publisher

4.       The six-digit series in the book’s title represents the edition.

5.       The last digit, known as the “check digit,” is a mathematical calculation and always remains a single fixed number.

·         Why self publisher need to know about how to locate the ISBN for a book?

There are various methods to locate the ISBN of a book, both on the book and online.

The following steps help you locate the ISBN of a book:

1.       Check the book’s back cover for the ISBN, which should be near the publisher’s barcode.

2.       Look at the copyright page found on the front of the book, just above the title page.

3.       Find the ISBN for the book using either the author or title on ISBN Search.

This is the reason it is important for publisher to keep in mind that why self publisher need to know more and more about on how to locate ISBN Number.

·         Is it necessary to get an ISBN if you self-publish?

If you want to sell your book publishing work in bookstores and libraries, you should get an ISBN.

You will need an ISBN if you plan to sell your printed book through Amazon self-publishing or online retailers and book aggregators. If you publish your print book through KDP, the ISBN can be provided for free by Amazon.

Whether writing a children’s book or nonfiction work, having an ISBN on your published book is essential if you want it to be available in a bookstore or your local library.

However, there are several restrictions to this. Except for a few exceptions, such as publishing digitally via digital online distributors/aggregators, an ISBN is not a requirement for eBooks.

How to get your ISBN number for a self-publisher and their book: 

1.       An ISBN will make your book more professional and credible.

2.       ISBNs are required if you want to sell your book through major retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IngramSpark.

3.       An ISBN makes ordering your book easy for libraries and other institutions.

4.       Having an ISBN shows that you are serious about publishing your work and establishes you as a bona fide author in the eyes of the public.

·         Will an ISBN protect my book’s copyright?

ISBN administer by a private company that intends for the international book trade, while the Library of Congress issues copyright as an extension to intellectual property law.

·         Is an ISBN only available to published books?

Yes, you may get an ISBN for your book even if it has not opt for publication.

In addition, ISBNs hand over to book publishers, who assign them to individual titles. This takes place at any time, even before the book finishes.

·         How do I purchase an ISBN in the US if I live outside the country?

You can only buy ISBNs in your area. If you’re from the United States, visit the appropriate platform since it’s the only authorized company to administer ISBN programs there.

If you live in the United States, follow these steps to acquire an ISBN:

1.       Go to the official site

2.       Click on “ISBN”

3.       Select the number you’d like to buy.

4.       Click “Buy Now”

5.       Complete checkout

You can get an ISBN for your book from the International ISBN Agency.

·         Is it possible to register my ISBN after it has been approved?

You can register your ISSN once it gets the authorization. You should write your number once you get it. In addition the platform keeps track of around 12 million worldwide titles, and registration with them adds your work to their extensive bibliography.

·         Should I get a different ISBN for every country I plan to publish my book?

No. You don’t need a separate ISBN if the book is available in other countries; the publication is in the same language and format and has the same function. For each version and edition of the work, you’ll need an ISBN. Information on language codes may available at the International ISBN Agency.

·         Why would you need to give a book a new ISBN?

You will need to obtain a new ISBN Number if you make any changes to your book.

There are six primary reasons why you would need to alter the ISBN:

1.       Book printing with large print so that it is easier to read. Remember, every different version of a book requires its ISBN.

2.       If the book publishes in a foreign language, it would be seen as a different format and require its ISBN.

3.       If more content is put into the book, such as extra chapters, it might be in process of republishing as a second edition.

4.       If the title or sub-title face changes.

5.       Changes that are made to the binding.

6.       Books published in another size, such as 5×8, 5.5×8.5, or 6×9, would require a separate ISBN.

On the other hand, if you want to make any changes to the book that would change its appearance, you would need a new ISBN.

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