Self-publish your Book with an ISBN

By: R.G. Johnston

An International Standard Book Number is your key to sell your book in bookstores—online and offline–loans in libraries and listed in global online catalogues like Worldcat. It’s how a self-publish writer make a book, the smart way.

It’s a thirteen digit unique identifier for your book. A paperback, hardcover, audio and an e-book version, of the same book will all have individual ISBNs.

When you order your first ISBN and set up an account you, as the self-publisher is given a prefix. For example, my prefix is 978-0-9782978. The numbers in the prefix identify the country where the book was published, edition and publisher information.

If you live in the United States, you obtain your ISBNs from the U.S. ISBN Agency at Bowker®. If you live in the United Kingdom, it’s through Neilson UK ISBN Agency®. For all other countries, The International ISBN Agency’s, find an agency page will point you in the right direction.

If you live in Canada, your ISBN is FREE. It’s a true Canadian example of self-publishing, the smart way. It’s issued by Library and Archives Canada.

I suggest that you apply, for your ISBN, when your manuscript is being edited.

You can publish and sell without an ISBN. Or, you can publish and apply for it, later. Without one, you are restricted to where you can sell your book.

For print copies, you will have to take care of your own selling and distributing. If you enjoy the personal contact that comes from this level of self-publishing, then an ISBN isn’t needed. But, if you plan to sell online, you are limited to where you can sell it.

You don’t need an ISBN to sell your e-books on sites like, Amazon® and Smashwords. But, you are restricted to sell-only-at Amazon and in the Smashwords store. You won’t be included in Smashword’s Premium catalogue. However, Smashwords will give you a free ISBN to distribute your e-book.

Your book is distributed to sites like, Amazon, iBooks®, Kobo® and Overdrive®, for libraries. Getting into other catalogues increases your distribution area, your exposure and your potential sales-in global markets.

No indie writer should overlook the benefits of having an ISBN to e-publish, or print publish. You are laying the groundwork, for your book to have the widest possible distribution.


from: What you need to know about ISBN Canada

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Get an ISBN for your books and E-books (in Canada)

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