One of the most confusing issues new writers seem to confront when trying to publish their new work is the ISBN. Authors are often unsure of how to use the ISBN (one number for each format or one for print and one for eBook regardless of how many ebook providers you distribute through?) or how to obtain one. A common question is whether an author should buy his own ISBN.
With the Internet offering such great publishing services to new authors, the decision of whether to purchase an ISBN depends on a few elements.
What are your intentions? Are you just publishing one book or do you have major plans to publish several more? Are you really interested in starting a publishing company and if so do you understand all that it entails, or are you just wanting to write? Do you have the budget to buy a block of 10 ISBN's, which start at around $275?
If you are planning on publishing multiple titles, would like to set up your own publishing company, and are not on a tight budget, then you should buy the block of ISBN's that fits your budget.
This step will make you the publisher on record for your work. That status enables anyone searching to locate you as the publisher of your book and gives you control of the bibliographic record and, more importantly, the metadata attached to the book that is used by search engines to drive traffic to the title.
Otherwise, if you only plan to publish a few books, are not interested in creating a publishing company, and really don't have the money to put out before ever earning a dollar, then a ISBN from a service provider might be what you need.
You can publish books using a free ISBN from a respectable company. Having their name on your work doesn’t impact the ownership or copyright on your work. You will still have all the control over your content, but without the added cost.
If the book is a success and you decide later to change your mind and publish more editions, buy your own ISBN block. You can still use the great services of your publishing service provider, but use your own number. With no hassle or need to revamp the process you've found a way to be successful.
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