Do You Need an ISBN?

Your book is written, rewritten and edited, congratulations. Now is the time to decide what you want to do with your body of work and to decide if you need an ISBN number for your book.

If you choose to go the traditional route and get yourself a publishing house, this is not something you will need to worry about as your publishing house will deal with all of that for you. If you chose to go the independent route then it’s up to you to sort this out.

So what is an ISBN number?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is the code used to identify your book used by libraries, bookshops & all vendors. It is now a 13 number code (pre 2007 they were 10 digits).

Do you need an ISBN number?

If you want to sell your book to the public then yes you will need an ISBN number. If you just want it for family or friends to give away then you don’t need one. Every different edition of your book needs a separate ISBN, paperback, hardback, reprints, graphic and ebook. With ebooks check the small print as a code may automatically be assigned to it.

Where do you get your ISBN’s from?

You can purchase your own ISBN from Nielsen (UK) and Bowker (US) or through your local ISBN agency (check online). Some independent publishers will have numbers you can purchase too.

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