Thursday, July 7, 2011

Secrets to Indie Publishing Revealed #9-Choosing an ISBN

Secret #9

How's it going with your cover? What have you discovered? What about formatting your file? Did that go well?

It's time to choose your ISBN.

Go to Createspace and sign in.

Click on your book title and look for the "set up" tab. Click on ISBN.

You have four choices-each with pros and cons

  1. Free. If you only intend to sell through Createspace channels, you may want to choose this. It will list Createspace as the publisher.YOu can not take this ISBN with you to another printer/distributor. If you want your books in stores, do not choose this option. Createspace says it will be available for stores to purchase because it will be in the Ingram catalogue, but bookstores do not order POD books (Createspace is a POD distributor/printer) Bookstores insist on the ability to return your book at any time up to 99 years from purchase. POD is a final sale-no returns.
  2. 10 buck option- If you only intend to sell through Createspace channels, you many want to choose this. Why the $10 fee? It give you the ability to "imprint" the book as the publisher. You can use your name or make up a publishing company like "Sunshine Publishing" to be the publisher. This keeps Createspace off your book info. (all the info about taking it with you from option #1 holds true with this option)
  3. Custom-If you want to take your book and get it onto bookstore shelves as well as, and others-you may want to choose this option. Sure, $99 seems like a lot of money for your own ISBN when you can get one for free, but remember, If you choose option 1 or 2, you have no control over where your book goes. You can not take it to another distributor. (Createspace is a printer and distributor) using their ISBN. This option lets you take it where ever you want to have it printed or distributed.
  4. Custom Universal-this allows you to buy your ISBN somewhere else and put it on your book. If you intend to write several books and self-publish them, this is what you will want to do. You can go to and buy "packs" of ISBN's for less than $99 a pop. If you buy ten, it's around $500. Most authors who self-publish go this route. You can take your book to any printer and/or distributor you choose.
Now, remember, even if you use option #3 or #4, Createspace does not imprint the price into the barcode they create. Most bookstores require this. If you only intend to sell through online channels, don't worry about this.

Go to a barcode generator online and pay a few bucks to have one made that includes the price if you are selling it outside Createspace distribution.

Take some time to decide which route to go. Once you choose an ISBN, you are stuck with it for that book. You can re-publish with a different ISBN, but that means you start all over and it can be a headache. I had to do this and it is no fun.

Happy ISBNing!


Donna K. Weaver said...

Even more great information, Cindy. Thanks.

kbrebes said...

You're fantastic, Cindy! Thanks for sharing!!!

Maria Hoagland said...

You posted that you took your Createspace book to a local publisher. Do you post about that decision, how to do that, and why you chose that route?

Cindy M Hogan author of Watched said...

As long as you own your ISBN, you can take your book wherever you want. The only thing you can't take with you is your whole cover. You can get the front cover in a high resolution thumbnail and use that for the front, but then you need to have a computer guy do the spine and back by looking at your proof from Createspace. Unless of course you didn't use cover creator in Createspace. Then you can take your cover with you. YOu created it. So, I sent the printer my cover file and my interior file and there you have it. I will be posting about the "why go to a local printer and distributor in a post coming soon. Hope that makes sense. If not, I'll tell you more. Let me know