More than you realize.
An ISBN, short for International Standard Book Number, is a unique identifier for a particular version of a book in a specific format.
You will need one for each edition of your book, each format, and every translation. For example, if you use one ISBN for your paperback, here’s when you will need a new ISBN:
|Ebook versions||Not needed for Kindle, but new ISBN needed for other formats|
|Adding a preface, introduction, appendix or other new content||Yes|
|New book in a series||Yes|
|Excerpts and supplemental materials if sold separately||Yes|
Yes, these prices are outrageous; the result of monopoly pricing. You will be tempted to use a free or low-price ISBN from your POD provider.
Obtaining an ISBN through your POD provider has its drawbacks. At CreateSpace, as of the time I am writing this, if you use one of their free ISBNs, then the publisher of your book will be listed as CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, which is like screaming to the world that you are a rookie indie author.
If you purchase one of their Custom ISBNs for $10, then the publisher will listed under your name or your imprint name, but you may use that ISBN only for copies of your book provided by CreateSpace. Should you decide to use a different POD provider to print your books, you will need to obtain a new ISBN.
CreateSpace also offers a Custom Universal ISBN for $99. That is for a single ISBN. Since you will need several ISBNs, it makes more sense to buy a package of ten directly from Bowker for $250. You may use your ISBNs with CreateSpace and other POD providers.
ISBNs are not transferable, so do not buy an ISBN from a friend or through an advertisement. If you purchase an ISBN in the secondary market, there is a risk the number could be cancelled on you.
You cannot recycle ISBNs. If a version of your book goes out of print, you cannot reuse its ISBN for another version or another book.
Bottom line, you should buy a package of at least 10 ISBNs. If you plan to publish several books in various formats, consider investing in 100 ISBNs. They do not expire.
UPDATE: Don’t use different ISBNs for the same book on IngramSpark and CreateSpace. You’ll end up with two different listings on Amazon and at Bowkers. I made that mistake.
If you will be using both IngramSpark and CreateSpace to distribute the same book, be sure to use the SAME ISBN for both.
There is a trick to this. Set up and release your book on IngramSpark first. Their set-up process and review process takes longer than CreateSpace’s, so it’s good to get that one started anyway. While you are waiting, you can start the process with CreateSpace, but don’t give final approval of the book until you have completed and released the book through IngramSpark.
When you are setting up the book on IngramSpark, you may be able to opt out of distribution through Amazon. I have heard people tell me that, but I could never find that option and suspect it is no longer available.
On the CreateSpace site, you want to opt out of Extended Distribution.
If you release the ISBN through CreateSpace first, IngramSpark won’t let you release a book with the same ISBN without jumping through a lot of hoops. I know a lot of people trying to jump through those hoops, without success!! IngramSpark seems weak on customer support,SHARE THIS