Visual Quill Blog

Self Publishing: ISBN FAQs

VQ Staff - Tuesday, June 21, 2016

You may have heard of the term 'ISBN' and you most definitely have seen the black and white striped code on any book you have read, but what is it for? Here are a few answers to frequently asked ISBN questions to help self publishing authors navigate their way to publication!

  • First off, what is an ISBN?
An ISBN, which stands for International Standard Book Number, is just that. An internationally recognized 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books.

  • Why do books need ISBNs?
ISBNs identify each book that is published, and it also identifies the publisher of the book. The international standard identification is used by libraries, bookstores, wholesalers, and more!

  • Why do I need an ISBN for my book?
If you'd like to sell your book publicly in any way (to a library, at a bookstore, or online), you'll need an ISBN.

  • How do I get an ISBN?
The ISBN website, myidentifiers.com, is the only company authorized to sell ISBNs in the United States.

  • At what point in the writing process should I buy my ISBN?
You can purchase the ISBN at any point - even before you've started writing!

  • How much do they cost?
Buying one ISBN will cost you $125. However, if you plan on writing multiple editions or more books in the future, you can buy packages of 10, 100, or 1,000 which will ultimately save you money when you buy in bulk!

  • Can I use the same ISBN for the print and ebook editions?
ISBN is there to identify each edition separately, so you'll need separate ISBNs for print and ebook, as well as hardcover and softcover.

  • What information does my ISBN hold?
Once you purchase your ISBN, you will be able to enter all relevant metadata about the book - title, author, price, edition, etc. Keeping the metadata up to date is incredibly important as this information is used by search engines, libraries, and bookstores.

Visual Quill can help you with independent publishing! Whether it be e-book formatting, a formatted interior file, or cover print-on-demand, learn more about our services here and contact us today!

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