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10 ISBN FAQ For Every Self-Publisher – Part 2

Welcome to part 2 and the last few FAQ on ISBNs.

What Advantages Is there For a Self-Published Author To Get an ISBN of Their Own?

Some publishing services will automatically assign you an ISBN for little to no cost and this is very much like a carrot being dangled in front of a brand-new author who may not be sure of the size of their market and prefer to spend their budget elsewhere. However, getting your own ISBN offers several advantages:

You are in control of the content of the metadata for your book. This includes the categories and the descriptions that bookstores, libraries, and readers use the world over to find your book and decide if they are going to buy it. We live in a digital world and metadata has a huge impact on the visibility of your book, especially for your target audience. This is vital for a self-published author who may not have the distribution and marketing abilities that a traditional publisher has.

You are registered as the publisher of record so, even if you move to a different publishing service or choose to go with several at once, your ISBN stays the same.

If you are intending to publish more than one book, being seen as a publisher makes sense, and it also gives you your own unique imprint on your own books.

What Are The Disadvantages of Having an ISBN?

If your book is going to be printed a few times for a small group of friends or family and they will be your only market or your book will only be sold in eBook format to an online retailer who doesn’t require an ISBN then there is little point in getting one. The following data might help you make your mind up:

On, 43% of books sold don’t have an ISBN

Again, on 24% of the money spent goes on books with no ISBN

More than $500 million per year is spent on eBooks that don’t have an ISBN

Online bookstores are fast becoming incredibly popular and the future for the eBook market is looking golden but if you intend to become a serious writer, there are disadvantages to not having that ISBN:

Your book will only be accessible online, not in physical form

Some online retailers may choose not to stock an eBook without one

You can apply for one later down the line though so don’t waste too much time worrying about it.

Do I Need a Barcode As Well?

An ISBN identifies your books but, with physical books, a barcode is used by the retailer to manage stock. You can use one of many online tools to convert your ISBN into a barcode and you can also approach the same agency that supplied the ISBN for a barcode.

If you are only selling in eBook format, you don’t necessarily need an ISBN. With a printed book, however, you do and each separate version of your book will need a different one. Think about purchasing blocks of 10 or more.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anne-Marie Reynolds