30% of all e-books sold in the United States lack an ISBN number and are not listed in library and book stores – nor in market surveys or reports by Bowker, AAP, BISG, and Nielsen. So, why do author-publishers don’t obtain their own ISBN’s? Could it be to they want to avoid the fees?
After all ISBN’s Belong to the Publisher!
If you are the one who has complete control over your book, doing the marketing and distribution, then consider getting your own ISBN. Each version of your book – e-book, paperback, hardcover, or audio-book – needs a unique ISBN. Order at least a block of ten numbers. ISBN numbers are assigned by a group of agencies worldwide coordinated by the International ISBN Agency.
Where to Order Your ISBN:
Benefits of an ISBN
As an author, you may have received offers from distributors, POD companies or “Vanity-Publishers” for a discounted ISBN. Don’t fall for these traps explained in this article!
- Only the one who purchases their own ISBN from the official distributors is considered the publisher! Or self-publisher.
- You can list your book worldwide with Bowker to be in all databases of libraries and bookstores around the globe.
- One of the most important reasons to have your own ISBN is that an ISBN helps to cement your publisher brand and makes it easier for the bookstores and libraries to carry your book or e-book.
- In Italy e-Books that do not contain an ISBN are charged 22% VAT – while e-books with an ISBN are charged at a rate of only 4%.
What Do All These Numbers in Your ISBN Code Mean?
ISBN is the International Standard Book Number, a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books published anywhere in the world. Parts of an ISBN are:
- group or country identified
- publisher identifier
- title identifier
- and the check digit
To sell your e-book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple or Kobo doesn’t necessarily require an ISBN, but it will be necessary, as soon as you start your book’s print version. Any book on your book shelf, at libraries or in book stores has a mandatory ISBN.