Sunday, September 4, 2022

How to Get an ISBN Number for Self-Published Books and What is an Imprint?

 

How to get an ISBN Number for Self-Published Books and What is an Imprint

Over the past couple of years, I've been sharing my self-publishing journey.

Although I've published 16 activity books to date, built a website to promote them, and created a social media following, I'm not an expert! I wanted to stipulate that upfront. 

This article addresses some of the questions I had about ISBN Numbers and Imprints and what I've learned firsthand.

After checking out this article, you should google this topic; there are so many incredibly qualified professionals on this subject. 

During my many hours of research, this is one of my favorite articles on the topic of Imprints - worth the read.

My Own Googled Questions About ISBNs and Imprints:

1. What is An ISBN - For the purposes of this article, I include it for You

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It's the little hard-to-read 13-digit unique number inside the Barcode on the back of a book. It identifies the book nationally and internationally. I won't get into much more about ISBNs for this article. There's more to understand, but we'll leave it here.

2. Every Book (Other than Low Content Books) Needs/is Assigned an ISBN Number on Amazon (and other Self-Publishing Platforms) - However, you can put your own ISBN on low-content books

If you've ever self-published on Amazon, you'll understand what I'm talking about. 

During the Amazon KDP book upload process, you'll be asked whether you want to provide your own ISBN and associated Barcode or if you would like Amazon to provide one for free. 

I started self-publishing in 2019, and due to a lack of knowledge, I opted for Amazon's free ISBN.

As a side note, eBooks don't need ISBNs, although I assigned my own to every ebook from the beginning. I did that because I knew I wouldn't have to worry about how in the heck to get a barcode and put it on the darn book! 

Barcode uploads and where to get them, along with the ISBN numbers, had me in a pickle when just starting out! 

So I took the easy way out in those early days. 

That was smart for me because I wasn't sure how long I would be committed to this self-publishing journey. Today, in 2022, I'm fully committed, so it was time to learn much more!

3. Where to Get an ISBN Number?

Canada:
Canadians are very lucky; ISBNs are free through the Government of Canada (ISBN Canada, also known as Library and Archives Canada). Sign up here, create an account, get your numbers, follow the instructions, and best of all, the customer service is fantastic! 

USA:

For those in the United States, you can get them through a company called Bowker. Unfortunately, they're not free, not even close to free. As of this date, one ISBN can cost approximately $125 and ten ISBNs are $295. You can view their pricing page here.

4. Where to Create a Barcode to Upload Onto Your Book When You're Providing Your ISBN?

The Barcode is pretty easy to create. This is the website I use to create my barcodes

5. Use Amazon's Template Generator to Figure Out Where the Barcode Goes When Creating Covers

Here is a link to Amazon's template generator. It creates a template you can put over the top of your book cover, so you know the margins and where the Barcode goes. 

*TIP* If you're using Canva to create book covers, drag the template over the properly measured custom design and increase the transparency so you can see through the template.

6. What is an Imprint? This confused me the most!

Amazon asks for the 'Imprint' information when you're providing your own ISBN.

I will not attempt to give you an in-depth explanation of  Imprints because, honestly, I could never do it justice! 

Provided below is a summary and a link to an excellent article from Ingram Spark about Imprints:

According this Ingram Spark Article: "The Imprint Page is the page that appears on the back of the Title Page. It contains everything we need to know about who wrote the book, who the publisher is, how we can contact them, where the book was printed, what the ISBN is"

7. Choosing An Imprint Name

There are so many things to consider when choosing your imprint name. Yikes. That's a whole other topic.

Famous publishing companies have multiple Imprint names. For example, Penguin House has nearly 275 independently published imprints. 

From what I've read so far, an Imprint doesn't have to be a legally named identifier. However, for goodness sake, don't pick a name that could be a copyright violation against another company!

With ISBN Canada, where I register my ISBN numbers, there are alternate identities (besides my own name) that I can list that relate to my book(s). 

Since I built a website called StumpedRiddles.com and feature all my activity books there, I added "Stumped Riddles" to my ISBN Canada profile as an identifier attached to my name. I use Stumped Riddles as my Imprint name.

You can get creative with your Imprint identifier that goes inside your book.

Here's the Imprint I created that will go at the bottom of my book's copyright page.

If you're in the USA and using Bowker to get your ISBNs, I'm sorry I can't help you with whether you can list alternate identities for the purpose of Imprints associated with the ISBN. 

8. Did You Know You Can Search for Any ISBN Online?

There's a website called ISBN Search that allows you to enter the ISBN for any book to help you find it. 

Ok, that's enough for today; self-publishing is a constant learning curve!

Additional Self-Publishing Articles:

  1. Basic Tips for the Newbie Self-Publisher
  2. Matte or Glossy Book Covers
  3. Confessions of a Newbie Self-Publisher
  4. 5 Helpful Self-Publishing Tools
  5. 3 Tips for a Newbie Self-Publisher
  6. How to Get Started on Your First eBook
  7. 5 Handy FREE Tools for Self-Publishing
  8. Newbie TikTok for Business 

Barbara's Author Page on Amazon 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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17 comments:

  1. So many details to work through when you self-publish. I'm sure many who self-publish will appreciate your well-researched knowledge. You are doing a great job, Barbara.

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    Replies
    1. It's a lot to learn, and it is taking years, but I do love it thank goodness! Thank you <3

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  2. Barbara, I see that there is so much to learn when self publishing, and you seem to have a good handle on it. I do know that you can search for any ISBN, the rest of this is all new to me. Thanks for the information.

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  3. Barbara, I’m so impressed by how thoughtful and self-directed you are in your self-publishing journey (as in everything else you do). Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and most helpful resources with us!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Margaret, it's forever a learning curve

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  4. Wow, lots of information here Barbara! I did not know half of what you have shared with us. Thanks, when I write my book, I will know exactly where to go to find all the proper info. I appreciate and admire all your hard work!

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    Replies
    1. There is quite a bit to it, but it's like anything in that we learn as we go don't we? Thanks for all your support <3

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  5. A very informative review for those who self publish.

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  6. There sure is a lot to learn, and to consider, before you self-publish a book. Would you need to pay for an ISBN if you allow Amazon to assign one for free? Have you found a downside to just letting Amazon assign one? This is a very interesting read! I sure wish things were a lot easier for writers to publish. After all, creative individuals need to focus on their writing, not get all bogged down by administrative work!

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    Replies
    1. When you use Amazon's Free ISBNs you cannot use that ISBN on any other publishing platform. You could get your own ISBN for another platform, but then you end up with a book with more than one ISBN identities. We also have to assign ISBNs for every variation of a book; paperback, ebook (Amazon doesn't need ISBNs for ebooks), audiobooks, etc. You don't have to pay for Amazon's free ISBNs. For me, now that I know how to get the Barcode with ISBNs on my books, and since they're free in Canada, it only makes sense to use my own. I can understand why new authors in the USA are reluctant to get their own ISBN when just starting out in the self-publishing world, it's pricy there! Low content paperback books don't need an ISBN on Amazon, or you can use your own.

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  7. There is clearly so much detail to learn when you are self publishing! It appears you have to really know all the admin side as well as being a good writer. I admire your talent and perseverance. This is an informative article for anyone considering self publishing.

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  8. This is excellent information to have. Thanks for always bringing us along on the journey. Congrats on all that you are accomplishing!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, learning all the time with this stuff, it's never ending <3 <3

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