Frequently Asked Questions About ISBN

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ISBN is an important topic to talk about because it was recognized in 170 countries and it plays an important role in your book sales and distribution. There are many questions about ISBN that are still a subject of debate between many authors and publishers but here are some of the frequently asked questions and the concepts you need to know about ISBN. 

International Standard Book Number. It’s a 10 or 13-digit code that personally identifies your book, with the information about the book’s publisher, title, language, edition, and version. Also used for the inventory system, 

Is ISBN required for all books?

If you are selling through the bookstores, libraries, and distributors, they rely on this unique identifier to track your book's statistics such as purchases and sales, and it will be necessary to apply for an ISBN. If you are selling an ebook through Amazon,  Barnes & Noble, Kobo, they do not require an ISBN.

ISBN for Self-Publish Authors

If you purchase your own ISBN, you will have total control of what will be in your book's metadata such as descriptions, and categories. Your book's metadata is critical to its sales as it helps the readers decide whether they want the book or not. 

Amazon vs Your Own ISBN

Amazon ISBN will only be featuring your book to amazon portals, unlike if you buy your own ISBN, you can publish your book to any platform you want. 

Where can I purchase an ISBN? 

Each country has an agency that assigns ISBN. For the United States, Bowker is the official ISBN agency. Those living in the UK can purchase ISBN from  Nielsen. Canadians get ISBN for free by registering at the Library and Archives Canada site. 

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