If you’ve been paying attention, you’re aware that in order for an Indie Author to own his or her ISBN, they have to be purchased directly, in batches of 10, for a price of $245.00 plus a $30.00 registration fee, for a total of $275.00 for 10 numbers.
Or you can buy them one at a time, from My Identifiers (dot) com at $125.00 each, but that requires you purchase a subscription to the site My Identifiers and continue your subscription.
Lulu and a few other sites, like Createspace, can sell you one for around $99.00, but these numbers are owned by Lulu and Createspace, not you. Keep that in mind.
But you know all that. You’ve been reading this blog, and doing some research, so you’re fully aware. And I’ll grant you this, buying them in a block of 10 is the most economical solution. The price (including the processing fee) is then $27.50 per ISBN. And you already know, because you’re smart like that, you’ll need one number for your paper back, one number for your hard back, another number for your audio book, and yet one more number for that highly sought-after eBook.
So one title, if you go each route, will require no less than 4 numbers. That’s 4 of your 10 used up on one novel so far.
But wait – we’re not done yet.
Which format are you using for that eBook?
Did you realize, you’ll need A SEPARATE ISBN FOR EACH AND EVERY FORMAT?
“You’re shittin’ me!”
The standards regarding ISBN’s require that every – single – format needs it’s own unique ISBN. So let’s play Give Me An Example, shall we?
In The Time Of Dying (which has no ISBN, if you were wondering) is available in paperback, will later on this winter be available in hardback with added bonus material, is also available, through Smashwords, in no less than 8 eBook formats.
Depending on your equipment, your needs, and your desires, In The Time Of Dying can be purchased as: HTML, Java, Kindle, Epub, PDF, RTF, LRF (the Sony eReader) and Palm Doc.
Eight different and distinct formats, each would require their own ISBN – if I’d gone that route. So my block of 10 ISBN’s would be used up, completely, by one single novel.
If I’d done this with everything that I have available now, each novel in each format, including paperback, I’d have to purchase 70 ISBN’s to a tune of $1,925.00 or I could go ahead and purchase a block of 100 for $960.00 (including registration fee).
The International Book Sellers Number was never designed to accommodate eBooks, and has failed thus far to catch up or entertain alternatives. Amazon refuses to even bother with ISBN’s on any of their Kindle editions, having instead invented the ASIN to track their Kindle eBooks. Even novels with ISBN’s don’t get them assigned when Amazon puts out a Kindle book.
ISBN’s have their place, I’ll give you that, but it’s a place mostly reserved for physical books, and Traditionally published authors. It’s a system designed to help Publishers track information related to sales, and for Bookstores and Libraries to keep track of titles and place orders. Until the system catches up with the eBook, and stands ready and willing to adapt and learn with the constantly changing times, I fail to see the need for any Indie author to bother. If you want to, feel free and don’t let anyone talk you out of it. But if you’re saving up for that ISBN because you believe that having it will somehow give your self published title more clout, more importance, and some form of prestige, keep this in mind – Anyone with a thick wallet can get an ISBN.
I don’t know about you, but a thick wallet and willingness to spend money don’t equal prestige, clout or importance in my world.
Power to the People!
Make Love, not War!
Is the turkey done yet?