We all know that print books available for sale through major online retailers require an ISBN or International Standard Book Number.
You know what I’m talking about, right? The little number associated with the barcode on the back of your book.
Well, you are probably wondering, “Should use a Createspace ISBN or my own for my paperback book?”
This is an excellent question and one worth considering before you launch your next book. You’ll need this information before you press the publish button, so stay tuned!
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Today, I’m going to briefly discuss the ISBN or International Standard Book Number associated with your Createspace Book Publishing. The ISBN identifies the specific title, edition, format and registrant.
When setting up your book on Createspace, you have a choice of either providing your own ISBN or selecting the free Createspace-assigned ISBN. Sounds like an easy choice, right?
I recently attended a three-hour self-publishing workshop hosted by IngramSpark where I learned that not all self-published books are welcomed with open arms nor held at the same level as traditionally published books.
And the quick judgments are made based on the ISBN associated with your book.
In-Depth with Createspace ISBN Numbers
In my recent video, I alluded to how I believe the offer of offline distribution through expanded distribution should come with a bit of an asterisk. Well, here’s why.
If you plan to slip your book into brick and mortar stores with a Createspace ISBN, then you are going to have a tough time. Understandably so when you think about WHY.
Some bookstores think of Amazon, Createspace’s parent company, as their competitors and others associate Createspace with “indies” and prejudge all indie publications as low quality.
It all comes down to what you plan to do with your author platform. If you are content with the Createspace platform and additional distribution channels, then the Createspace ISBN is for you.
Bear in mind, if you ever wish to publish your book elsewhere, you can always retire a title on Createspace. It’s no big issue. But, once a physical book is available on Amazon, the metadata and product data will always be on Amazon, even if it appears as out of stock.
Let’s say you are leaning toward using your own ISBN. Simply head over to United States ISBN Agency, Bowker. It’s the ONLY official source of ISBNs in the U.S., so be careful about bargain basement ISBN “resellers.”
You CAN get a cheap ISBN from a third-party company, but you are stuck with the same issue you’d have if used the Createspace-assigned ISBN. It sucks to say, but Bowker owns a monopoly on ISBN distribution.
This means you can pay $125 for one ISBN or get a huge discount when you buy 1,000 ISBNs at a buck a piece. Hooray for capitalism!
The good news for my Canadian viewers is that Canada provides free ISBNs. There are SMALL requirements, but the synopsis is…uhm…Canada, eh?
If you’re new to self-publishing, I recommend you test the waters first. Before you start throwing money into new ISBNs, make sure you can get a book on the market and generate sales. It’s proof of concept.
Also, where do you see your business in the next five years? Do you ultimately see your book on shelves in brick and mortar stores like Barnes & Noble or smaller bookstore chains?
If so, then getting your ISBNs now may be sound investment for your future. Then, when you approach a bookstore about carrying your publication, they are more susceptible to ordering copies to stock on their shelves and sell to their customers.
What are your thoughts on using the Createspace ISBN versus your own? I’d love to hear your open thoughts and questions, so leave them in the comments below.
Until later, this has been Self-Publishing with Dale and I’ll catch ya guys soon.