Do you need an ISBN?

Cover designs, binding styles and ISBN numbers – There are many different (and confusing) aspects to printing and publishing your book.  Knowing where to begin and how each different step can effect the success of your book is important, and CHG is here to help you understand.

What is an ISBN?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is a 13-digit number that is used internationally as a unique identifier for books.  They are used to establish and identify one title or edition of a title, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors.

Do you need one?

If you plan to sell your book in bookstores, to libraries, or through online retailers like Amazon, you will need an ISBN.

How many ISBN’s do you need?

Since the purpose of an ISBN is to identify titles and editions – you will need an ISBN for each edition of your title. If you wish to have a hardbound copy, a softbound copy, an ePUB, a PDF, a MOBI, or even register a new version, you should assign a unique ISBN for each version. This allows retailers to help the customer understand exactly which version of a title they are purchasing.

Can you buy just one ISBN?

Yes, you can purchase an individual ISBN, but it is the least economical option. If you ever purchase another edition of your book, or another book entirely, you will need more than one ISBN. Packages of 10 ISBNs are offered at heavily discounted prices. Larger packages are also available.

Where can you buy ISBNs?

The only company authorized to administer the ISBN program in the United States is Bowker. They run the ISBN website https://www.myidentifiers.com. You can purchase your ISBNs by visiting their site.

Will CHG purchase the ISBN for you?

If you don’t purchase your own ISBN under your own publishing company name, then you are not the publisher. If you were to allow your publishing company purchase the ISBN, then they are the publisher. It is recommended that you purchase your own ISBN.

Still have more questions? Feel free to contact your CHG representative about your next book and any questions or concerns that you may have. 

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