just when you thought I was done

Talking about ISBN’s for the Indy writer – Smashwords comes out with a new plan.

If you’ve been reading along, and I trust you have, then you’re familiar with the Pros and Cons of purchasing ISBN’s for your novels and short stories. And you’re aware of how expensive it can be, if you want to be listed as the Publisher of Record, as opposed to allowing – say – Lulu or Createspace to be listed as the publisher of your book.

Either way, it’s always been and still remains your choice. For some, allowing Lulu to be listed as their publisher. For others, it’s important to be listed as your own publisher.

And, if you’ve been following along and reading the rules of ISBN’s, then you’ve come to realize for the ebook publisher, it’s a royal pain in the arse. Why? Because, as the rules are stated, you are required to obtain a separate and unique ISBN for each and every format your ebook is published in.

Can you say Holy Shite?

I thought you could.

In order to cover all the available reader bases out there, I have – via Smashwords – all of my ebooks published in no less than 9 formats. HTML, Java, Mobi for the Kindle, Epub (considered an industry standard, if anything can be considered standard these days) PDF, RTF, LRF (for the Sony reader) Palm Doc, Plain Text for online and Plain text for download view.

You can imagine how much it would cost if I were to purchase an ISBN for each of those formats.

So what’s new, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

Smashwords – my preferred ebook distributor – has signed a deal that will include titles in the new Apple bookstore, for all Smashwords books that meet certain guidelines. The requirements are simple – your book has to be included already in their premium catalog (which is a simple formatting and cover art issue) your book has to have a price that ends in .99 (I don’t know why, it’s odd, go figure but who cares) and your book has to have an ISBN assigned to the Epub formatted version.

Okay, so first you’re thinking “hang on, you just explained why ISBN’s are too expensive. Are you drunk?”

Yes. I mean, not right now. You see, another announcement from Smashwords is their new ISBN offering. They’ve managed to French kiss Bowkers and come up with a deal, wherein they can offer you options to place an ISBN on the Epub version of your novel.

Why Epub? Well like I said, that’s considered for now the industry standard, the most widely read and available version, so it makes sense to pick that format above all others and assign your ISBN to it. You can still buy numbers for your other versions, if you have deep pockets.

So what’s the catch? Is there a catch?

No catch, not really. But there are distinctions. Free vs $9.95.

For free, at no charge to you, Smashwords can assign an ISBN to your novel’s Epub format – making it widely available and easily searched for/ordered by anyone, anywhere – for the simple cost of listing Smashwords as your publisher. You remain the author, naturally, because – well – you’re the author. But Smashwords will be listed as your Publisher of Record.

For $9.95, you can have Smashwords assign an ISBN to your novel’s Epub format – making it widely available and easily searched for/ordered by anyone, anywhere – and have YOU listed as the Publisher of Record.

You. The publisher. For $9.95. Sure, it’s only your Epub version, but we’ve established that as being your industry standard version right now, and on that will be listed with Bowker’s, and made available in the Apple bookstore, for all those early adopters of the new Apple iKotex tablet computer.

Is this cool, exciting news?

That’s up to you to decide. Free is free, but lists Smashwords as your publisher. $9.95 will list you as publisher, and can be taken out of your profits from sales, so you’re not whipping out that credit card that you shouldn’t have in the first place shame on you for using credit cards have you learned nothing from my lectures!?


Also, if you’re just now listing that novel, and haven’t sold one yet, Smashwords will let you owe them the $9.95, and take it out of your first sales until it’s paid. So monetarily, it’s a win/win.

Are there ups, downs, lefts or rights to this news? I’ll let you know as I learn them. Right now, I went ahead and put ISBN’s on Ether and In The Time Of Dying. I want them listed in the Apple store so I can test that out and see how it affects sales and readership. It’s all pretty new, and I’m still experimenting with it, poking it with sticks.

But it is news. And a very intriguing developing in the ISBN wars of the Indy writer. Stay tuned!

Power to the People!

Make Love, Not War!

Does that iPad come with wings?

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