We received a question from one of our Self Pub 101 students regarding the use/purchase of an ISBN. She was re-publishing her book after having it published with a well known subsidy publisher.
First, what is an ISBN? ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. This number is used to identify the book, each edition, as well as the publisher.
So, if you are re-publishing a book, you need a new ISBN. If you are re-publishing your own book that has previously been published by someone else, you need a new ISBN.
If you are self-publishing on a shoe string budget, then allowing Createspace to issue your paperback book an ISBN might be the route for you to go, at least for now. Your Kindle version will list your imprint as publisher while the paperback version will list Createspace as Publisher, but in the grand scheme of things does it matter? I’m not really certain anyone is swayed by the fact that Createspace is listed as your publisher. Most readers do not pay any attention to who publishes your book. As long as you write a great book does it matter who is listed as publisher? And most online sales are ebook sales…which means the purchaser is still seeing your publishing imprint listed under publisher in the book’s details.
If you have the resources, then by all means purchase your own ISBN from Bowker. I’ve listed the link below.
Here is a link that tells you exactly what an ISBN is used for. http://www.bowker.com/en-US/products/servident_isbn.shtml
Here is where you go online to purchase your ISBNs. https://www.myidentifiers.com/isbn/main