• Writer Naama

5 Secret Tips About ISBN That You Won’t Find Anywhere


DO you have a book that needs to be self-published? Then you might need to keep few things in mind. One of the most crucial factors of self-publishing a book is to get an ISBN number. ISBN is a 13 digit International Standard Book Number that identifies a book by its title, edition, and format. It can identify books in all formats and is used by publishers, booksellers, and retailers for listing, ordering, and stocking books in-store and online.

5 Elements of ISBN

  • Prefix element:

Prefix elements are 3 digits in length. It can only be 978 or 979.

  • Registrant element:

This identifies the publisher and may be up to 7 digits in length.

  • Registration Group Element

This identifies the country and the geographical locations and may be up to 1 and 5 digits in length.

  • Publication element

This identifies the edition and format of the title and maybe up to 6 digits in length.

  • Check digit

This is the final single digit that validates the rest of the number. These are calculated using a modulus 10 system.



5 Secret Tips About ISBN That You Won’t Find From Anywhere

1. Free VS Paid ISBN

  • Use the paid version of the ISBN number. When you purchase your own ISBN you can add your own publisher name and therefore it appears to be more professional.

  • A free version of ISBN will not add the publisher name to your books. This might not stock your books in stores and limit its reach.

2. Cannot be reused.

  • ISBNs cannot be reused once purchased and contains copyright violations. If you are planning to publish a hard cover, paperback and e-book with the same title you need unique ISBNs for each formats.

  • Multiple ISBNs for every rendition of a book enable proper registration to attract sales.

3.Segregates information

  • ISBN helps the author to segregate information and represent it clearly.

  • For example you’ve written a book and used keywords like mindset, change and transformation. The problem arises when an author of a similar well known book such as” Change Your Mindset To Transform Your Life” may have similar information. ISBNs separate that information from that of other authors and easily locates your book.

4. Barcode may or may not be present.

  • ISBN can come with or without a barcode. It is present at the back cover of the book near the bottom where prices are displayed and is read by a scanner.

  • You might get an ISBN even before writing your book. If you want don’t want to sell your books in traditional stores then you do not need a barcode.

5. A publisher should apply for ISBN

  • The publisher should always apply for an ISBN. The publisher is responsible to bear the financial risk for the production.

  • Every country has its ISBN and to start the registration one must consult the National ISBN Agency.

  • When you apply for ISBN there will be options available for you so that you can choose your format.

  • In case you’ve earlier applied for ISBN online then you can apply for ISBN only after consumption of 75% of allotted ISBN.

An ISBN must be bought before designing the cover of the book. You can buy your ISBN even before you’re done writing but make sure to have them ready before you start designing. Many countries provide free ISBN so consult you National ISBN Agency to get more detailed information. An ISBN makes self-publishing easier and you probably won’t find these points compiled together anywhere so make sure to go through all of them and follow all the steps before publishing.

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