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ISBN. . . Do I Need / Want It?
If your book is suddenly in high demand, wouldn’t you want the reading populace to be able to find it?

 ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number which is the 13-digit number on the back of a book used by book sellers everywhere – shops, libraries, online sellers – to identify and find your book. As indicated by the “I”, the ISBN number is recognized internationally as well as in the United States.

Why an ISBN?

If you are a businessperson, and you are when you’ve written a book and are offering it for sale even if you are only selling it yourself in one-on-one situations like craft shows or yard sales, you would be wise in getting an ISBN. Who knows, your book may suddenly be in high demand, and you certainly want the reading populace to be able to find it.

Getting an ISBN number is relatively easy to do but you first need to think about what your plans are. Is this going to be a ‘one and done’ book or are you thinking about and planning on writing other books? Maybe cost is a factor in making that decision. If so, then you’ll be pleased to learn that you can get a free ISBN number through Amazon or Ingram Sparks, and most recently even Smash Words.

Don’t be misinformed.

There is a lot of misinformation and confusion regarding ISBN numbers. I’ve even heard authors express concerns they would lose their rights to the book if they got an ISBN number. That is not true. An ISBN number is simply a locator, like your home address or a Social Security number for that specific book, and you keep all rights to your book so don’t worry about the rumors. Listen to the pros.
How do you decide what to do? If you are thinking about or planning to write another book, or books, then you might want to consider buying a bundle of ISBN numbers. Don’t worry, they don’t expire, and you’ll have them when you need them; even so, there are some things to think about.

Bowker ISBNs.

Beyond the free ISBN numbers mentioned above, you can buy an ISBN number through a company called Bowker for $125 for one; or 10 for $295 and so on, depending on your plans. If you are considering buying an ISBN, which is a wise decision, do not purchase it online because it is a cheaper offer. Usually that will end up costing you more than you had thought it would – caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). Always deal with reputable, known companies.

When you own the ISBN, meaning you’ve purchased it, you can then publish your book under your own imprint instead of the umbrella imprint of the one selling you the number. Again, you need to decide what your goal is and what is the best way to accomplish it. Purchasing your ISBN number will give you peace of mind as well as a sense of absolute ownership, which is a really good feeling. 

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About the Authors: Daniel J. Mawhinney & Darlene Shortridge

Dan & Darlene have a passion and a heart for helping independent authors to successfully publish and market their stories worth telling and messages worth sharing.
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