self-publishing · writing

Hey There! Salutations! Greetings! Welcome…And The List Goes on…!


Ok, I haven’t been blogging that much lately. For that, I can only apologise to those who look forward to my awesome (I say ironically) posts and all the informative information I impart to my readers and followers!

Well…What do I have for you today? I believe I made some sort of passing comment that I would try to be more informative regarding the whole writing and self-pubslishing thing/adventure/headache that I’m currently enduring/enjoying and wholly involved with! It’s also a way to hand over a few tips that I’ve picked up!

To start with, there’s the whole ISBN thing that appears to be very important, especially when creating an actual hard copy of your book! It isn’t something as simple as just allowing Createspace to provide you with an ISBN of their own when you create a paperback version of your book through them. Apparently, and I’m only going on the posts I’ve picked up from others, you may need to purchase your own ISBN as well if you wish to sell your book/s overseas/internationally. (there seems to be a lot / in my post. Sorry about that!)

Anyway, back to the ISBN. Here is what I’ve picked up over the internet! I’ll try to break it down into bite size snippets that, I hope, will be easier to swallow!

Basically, the ISBN (for those not in the know or are unsure) is the International Standard Book Number, which is a unique commercial book identifier based upon 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) code created by Gordon Foster, Emeritus Professor of Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin, for the booksellers and stationers WHSmith and others in 1965. The ISBN configuration of recognition was generated in 1967 by David Whittaker (regarded as “the Father of the ISBN”) and Emery Koltay (who later became Director of the U.S. ISBN agency, Bowker

That’s the ‘history’, anyway. As gained from Wickipedia. Do with it as you will!

An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation (except reprinting) of a book. For example, an ebook (although with Amazon that is not necessarily required) a paperback and a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN. The ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned on or after January 2007, and 10 digits long if assigned before 2007. An International Standard Book Number consists of 4 parts (if it is 10 digit ISBN) or 5 parts (for a 13 digit ISBN).

1. For a 13 digit ISBN, a prefix element, a GSI prefix: so far 978 or 979 have been made available by GSI

2. the regitsration group element, (language-sharing country group, individual country or territory)

3. the registration element

4. the publication element

5. a checksum character or check digit

How ISBN’s Are Issued.

This is country specific, in that ISBN’s are issued by the ISBN registration agency that is responsible for that country or territory regardless of the publication language. The ranges of ISBN ‘s assigned to any particular country are based on the publishing profile of the country concerned, and so the ranges will vary depending on the number of books and the number, type, and size of publishers that are active. Some ISBN registration agencies are based in libraries or ministries of culture and may recieve governemnt funding for their services. In other cases , the ISBN registration service is provided by organisations such as bibliographic data providers that are not government funded. In Canada ISBN’s are issued at no cost with the stated purpose of encouraging Canadian culture. In the United Kingdom, United States, and some other countries, where the service is provided by non-government-funded organisations, the issuing of ISBN’s requires payment of a fee.

Canada: Library and Archive Canada, a governement agaency, is responsible for issuing ISBN’s, and there is no cost. Works in French are issued ISBN’S by the Bibliotheque of Archives nationales du Quebec.

United Kingdown and Republic of Ireland: The privately held company Nielson Book Serive Ltd, part of Neilson Holdiongs N.V. is responsible for issuing ISBN’s in blocks of 10, 100, or 1000. Prices start from £120 (plus VAT)) for the smallest block on a standard turnaround of ten days.

United States: the privately held company R.R. Bower issues ISBN’s. There is a charge that varies depending on the number of ISBN’s purchased, with prices starting at $125 for a single number.

Publishers and authors in other countries obtain ISBN’s from their respective national ISBN registration agency. A directory of ISBN agencies is available on the International ISBN Agency website.

(I’ll be checking out the UK Based company myself and doing research before handing over anything remotely resembling cash, and I suggest any one else wishing to obtain an ISBN do the same)

I completely understand why so many writers would prefer traditional publishing over Indie. The amount of work required and time you need to invest is not for the faint hearted!

There’s loads of other stuff, such as detecting errors, conversions, updates, and formatting, which I’m not going to put here. If any one is interested in that kind of thing, then please, by all means go to Wickipedia and check it out! (I’m sure other sites are available for you to browse at your leisure!)

On a side note, if you publish an ebook through Kindle, then they asign you an ASIN code and this is used instead of an ISBN, but for ebooks only. I don’t know what this means for authors who wish to publish their ebook through other companies, though. That’s another round of reasearch, I think!

If this helps, I’m glad. If it gives you a headache and crosses your eyes, that is exactly what happened to me the first time I read this!

Next week, there’ll be a bit of lighter reading on the topic of Rewriting and Editing!!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

4 thoughts on “Hey There! Salutations! Greetings! Welcome…And The List Goes on…!

  1. Just as a point of clarity with the ISBN numbers:
    You can buy a 10 pack of ISBNs, which will cost less than buying them one at a time. You need 1 ISBN number per format your book is in (so 2 usually, 1 for paperback and 1 for ebook). While you can buy your ISBN numbers, you can also use the ones provided to you for free or a much lower cost on Createspace and Amazon/Smashwords. Most sites are willing to provide you with a free one, but it will list the publisher as Smashwords/Amazon/Createspace.

    1. Hey there! Thanks for the comments. It’s always useful to have other views on self-publishing, although I do believe that I put in my blog that the company which provides ISBN’s in the UK does sell them in blocks of 10, 100 and a 1000. Although, for other countries, I can only go on the information provided through research! I did also mention that Createspace do provide an ISBN for paperback versions and that Amazon give you their equivelent of an ISBN for ebooks! Although, there is some debate as to whether you need to purchase a second ISBN for hard copies for international sales, which is something I need to research further and will attend to in another blog. As usual indie publishing is an ever winding road, of which I’m still trying to find the end.

      1. When I went to buy ISBNs, I was amazed that anyone would buy them one at a time. I bought a pack of ten. I didn’t think I’d go through 100 any time soon, lol.

  2. Yeah…Kind of wonder who would buy ISBN’s one at a time!! I know I’ve had a lot of comments requesting a paperback version of Sorceress: Beware What You Believe! Given it’s a short though, I’ve just left it as a Kindle download, so far! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s