Have you been wondering about the numerous news stories about “declining e-book sales” during the last couple of months? Well only those who have an ISBN, and only those from certain book stores, online retailers and large trade publishers are counted.
30% of all e-books being purchased in the United States do not use ISBN numbers and are invisible to the industry’s official market surveys and reports. Which also means: all the ISBN-based estimates of market share reported by Bowker, AAP, BISG, and Nielsen are wildly wrong. Unfortunately ISBN’s are pricy in the States and too many authors are jumping on free or low-cost offers by publishing service companies – with negative impacts for authors
Bestseller Author M.A.Demers Explains:
“An ISBN clearly identifies an e-book as a book, no different from a print book. No ISBN leaves the door open to classify the good as a digital good and not a book. Since e-book retailers such as Amazon sell a multitude of items in addition to e-books, only an ISBN “proves” the good sold is an e-book. This explains for example why Italy, who are already facing prosecution for lowering the rate of VAT on e-books, will only do so if the e-book bears an ISBN.”
A Book – or Not a Book in Italy?
Writing about changes in sales tax (VAT) in the EU, Amazon recently explained in their email that Italy has implemented new legislation that charges a higher rate of VAT on e-books that do not have an ISBN.
e-Books that do not contain an ISBN are charged 22% VAT, while e-books with an ISBN are charged a rate of only 4%. One might argue: I don’t care about the Italian book market, but other countries might follow this example if the EU cannot reach an agreement to consider each book – no matter in which format it is sold – is a book!
Who is the Publisher? The One Who Owns the ISBN!
You may encounter offers from other sources to purchase single ISBNs at special offer prices. Companies that provide limited services such as distributing, retailing, barcode services, printing, and/or marketing should NOT assign ISBN’s from their company to your publications – unless you allow them to also hold the publishing rights for your books. If you use one of these re-assigned ISBN’s, you will not be correctly identified as the publisher of record in “Books in Print” or many of the book industry databases.
If you Want to Appear as a Professional Author-Publisher:
An ISBN helps to cement your publisher brand and makes it easier for the bookstores and libraries to carry your book or e-book. Each version of your book – e-book, paperback, hardcover, or audio-book – needs a unique ISBN. So be smart and order a block of ten. And list your book worldwide with Bowker to be in all databases of libraries and bookstores around the globe.
Read All About ISBN here: