FAQs- ISBN Number for Books
ISBN Assignments from the US ISBN Agency
In 2004, we entered a formal partnership with the US ISBN Agency to provide two distinct programs which abide by the ISBN requirements to enable independent self-publishers to obtain ISBN Numbers for books and other production/marketing services. ISBN assignments by either program enable our customers to retain all legal copyright and distribution rights. These programs were devised with the US ISBN agency to specifically assist self-publishers, and Publisher Services is now the largest provider of individual ISBN assignments.
Our Independent Publisher Program is geared towards providing publishing assistance to small authors/publishers who plan on distributing their publications by themselves or over the internet (i.e., Amazon.com). Our publisher prefix denotes “Independent Publisher” as the registrant. ISBNs purchased through our service have a Publisher Identifier listed as Independent Publisher. It is important to recognize that our customers retain all copyright and distribution rights, since the assigned unique international identifier associated to a particular publication (title/author). The Independent Publisher Program follows the ISBN terms and the numbers we provide are legitimate and cause no disruption to the book industry supply chain. This publishing solution is an easy and economical method to obtain ISBN numbers and barcode. For publishers who intend on utilizing book distributors and would like an ISBN with their company listed as the registrant, we offer the Personalized Publisher Program. Through an agreement with the U.S. ISBN Agency, we can act as an agent to process single ISBN applications and expedite the application process and bar codes. Click here to learn more about distribution and identification in the book industry supply chain.
|Unmatched Phone Support-Talk to a real person|
|Author/Publisher retains ownership and copyright|
|Clients manage title data & cover art on our Client Portals|
|ISBN Assignment-Guaranteed Legitimate and Unique|
|No Annual Fees|
|Digital barcode included! (barcode stickers also available for purchase)|
|Quantity Discounts (i.e. 2 ISBNs & barcodes $46.50 each)|
|"Independent Publisher" is the listed publisher (information)|
|Your company is listed as publisher|
|Copyright registration forms/instructions included! -A $40 value!|
|Publication can be sold through Createspace marketplace|
What is an ISBN and how is it used?
ISBN stands for “International Standard Book Number”. It is a unique identifier for books, eBooks, tapes, and CD’s. The ISBN numbering system is used worldwide and publishers around the globe identify their work in this standardized format. Each title or edition must be identified by a unique ISBN. In essence, the ISBN number for books is similar to a license plate which guarantees that each book type product is identified uniquely.
Who assigns an ISBN?
The International ISBN Agency in the UK coordinates all ISBN allotments while individual group agencies assign ISBNs for each country. Every country has an organization which administers these numbers and the U.S. ISBN Agency is run by Bowker. Bar Code Graphics, Inc. has an agreement with the US ISBN Agency and our Publisher Services division is able to act as an agent for small publishers and facilitate single ISBN assignments with a publisher’s name listed as the registrant (Personalized Publisher Program). Today, Publisher Services is now the largest authorized agent and provides the majority of ISBN assignment to self-publishers.
Are there Unauthorized Resellers of ISBNs?
Unfortunately, there are a few internet companies which prey on new self-publishers. Since the ISBN assignment uniquely identifies a title for the life of the book, authors need to be assured of the legitimacy and security of the assigning company. There is even a company which calls itself isbnagency.com, and they are not the US ISBN agency.
A key part of the ISBN assignment process is REGISTERING book information and cover art within the Global Books In Print Database. This function enables book discoverability. Publisher Services clients get to enter upload their title information and cover art through our online portal which automatically uploads to the master database. Without this assurance, you might just be receiving an arbitrary number. In addition, be wary of any company offering 30 day money back guarantees with ISBN purchases. ISBN numbers should NEVER be reassigned!
From the point of view of the international ISBN system there is no legal requirement to have an ISBN and it conveys no legal or copyright protection. However, both brick/mortar and online book sellers in the US require ISBN identification.
What happens if I decided to publish under a new publisher and ISBN?
Publications which are reprinted should carry the new listed publisher’s ISBN, and ISBN of the previous edition on the verso of the title page. Example: ISBN 0-999-00123-1 (previously ISBN 1-59972-091-X)
Retailers and distributors require book products to carry a barcode which encodes the ISBN and pricing information. The Bookland EAN barcode is a standardized format which is accepted by trading partners worldwide. Our experience with barcodes enables us to provide our customers with symbols which comply with the GS1 guidelines and offer assistance with providing the appropriate format. Click here for an example. Please note, a digital barcode is not needed on ebooks.
If you require only a Bookland EAN symbol, we encourage you to purchase ISBN Bookland barcode files from www.createbarcodes.com for only $10 each.
Createspace is a Print-On-Demand (POD) service from Amazon. Their system requires users to either have an ISBN assigned in their company’s name or use a Createspace-assigned ISBN. We have worked out an arrangement with Createspace to assist their customers. Clients who purchase our Personalized Publisher Program can utilize their ISBN number on both the books which they sell directly as well as those which are sold via the Createspace/Amazon marketplaces. Clients who have already purchased an ISBN through the Independent Publisher Program need to have Createspace assign a Createspace assigned ISBN for those publications to be offered on their service.
Note: ISBNs assigned from Createspace cannot be used to sell in any other marketplace, while the ISBNs assigned from our Personalized Publisher Program can be used across marketplaces. Since POD services, such as Createspace, are geared for printing individual books as they are sold, it is not economically feasible to use them to print large quantities.
Book data and ISBN assignment information will be done directly between trading partners. Amazon Advantage, Books A Million and Barnes & Noble each have their own processes for updating information about your published items.
Amazon: Most self publishers use the Amazon Advantage program to sell their items on Amazon. Once an account is established, there is specific title information pages which enable publishers to upload book data and cover images.
Barnes & Noble: Please read the Publisher & Author Guidelines. There you will find instructions about e-mailing your information to specific B&N representatives.
In addition to barcoding and numbering assistance, our Publisher Services program offers assistance enabling publishers towards book production and online marketing. Our services include:
- E-book formatting and conversion
- Discounted book printing – 3 day turnaround
- Promotional and marketing products
- Printed barcode and “Autographed Copy” labels
Reasons to Use Publisher Services for ISBN Assistance
- Personal customer service – Talk to a real person – We post our phone number on every page
- Authorized ISBN agent – We are, in fact, the largest and personally assist thousands of self-publishers every year
- Online Portal enables our clients to enter their title data and upload cover art directly to Global Database
- ISBN delivery within 30 minutes (Independent Publisher Program) during business hours
Please allow additional time for orders placed at night or over the weekend.
We strive for 100% customer satisfaction. Click here for our Terms & Conditions.
Please Call Us at (800)662-0701 x240 for assistance