What’s in an ISBN?

You have finished writing your book, the editing is done, and now you are ready to move onto the publishing process. One of the most important parts of publishing a book is the ISBN. What’s in an ISBN? Apparently, how you choose to obtain one has a lot to do with how much reach you will have. I found this out the hard way this week after publishing four books using a free ISBN for each one. Big mistake. Here is why.

What’s In An ISBN?

I published all of my print books through Createspace using a free ISBN for each. By doing this, Createspace OWNS my ISBN. Not good. This limits me to only being able to sell my books on consignment to local bookstores and at local events but not much else. (Don’t get me wrong, working with local bookstores in my area has been an absolute delight.) However, if I want to extend my reach into bookstores I’m going to have to change my game plan. Here is an article I found that explains why using a free ISBN is not ideal.



What's In An ISBN?

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash











So what is the answer to this dilemma? The first thing you need to understand is you will need both Createspace and IngramSpark to help extend your reach. IngramSpark is a publishing company that offers distributorship to their authors, allowing their books to be available for bookstores to purchase and sell in their stores. Here is an article to explain why you need both places.

Why you need IngramSpark AND CreateSpace – UPDATED

The second part of this answer is that you will need to buy your own ISBN through Bowker. Here is an article for more information.

Why You Need Your Own ISBN From Bowker

Okay, so you have been enlightened and are ready to proceed correctly. How do you do it? Is there a way for you to transfer your Createspace titles to IngramSpark? Thankfully, yes. Here is how you do it.

How to Transfer Your Book to Ingram Spark From CreateSpace

Learning this information was a huge eye opener this week. I hope by sharing with you, I can help you avoid my mistake before publishing your first book. However, if you’re like me and realizing your mistake, thankfully there is a way to fix it and to give the power back to all of us.


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