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The Importance of Getting an Authorized and Legitimate ISBN Number

The ISBN number is linked to essential information about your book: what the book is, who wrote it, and what the book is about. Since the ISBN is an extension of the book itself, you should be aware of what you are buying, and who you are buying from. A crucial component of the ISBN identification is linking title information to the Global Books in Print Database (  Due to our unique relationship with the US ISBN Agency, ISBNs and barcodes for our Publisher Package are delivered instantly from the ISBN Agency.

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, and they are not the U.S. 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 to another book once issued!

The U.S. ISBN Agency only allows certain Channel Partners, such as Publisher Services and Amazon, to purchase and redistribute ISBN numbers.This means that when you purchase an ISBN from Publisher Services, you know that the ISBN is coming from a legitimate source. Because your ISBN is provided through an authorized channel, you can be sure that your book data will be communicated through the official bibliographic database (Bowker’s Books In Print), and will have as wide a reach as possible through this data. Our clients have 100% percent control of the data they wish to publish to the database through our portals.

This may not always be the case with illegitimate resellers. When selecting who to purchase an ISBN from, there may be ISBN resellers who claim to sell “authentic” or “trusted” ISBNs but are in fact unauthorized to do so.

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Please be aware that there are unauthorized resellers of ISBNs, and that this activity is a violation of the ISBN standard and of industry practice. Advertisements with the words like CHEAP ISBN and BANG FOR YOUR BUCK are warning signs that users should take caution. 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, they are not the U.S. ISBN agency.

NOTE: There are some ebook publishing companies offering discounted assignments. Aside from not having direct access to the Global Books in Print database, their barcodes do not comply with the ISBN standards. As the largest provider of barcode symbols to publishers, our digital barcode files are now the industry standard. The inclusion of a barcode symbol is a necessity for printed books, so make sure the barcode on your cover is professional and readable.

If you use one of these illegitimate ISBNs, you will not be correctly identified as the publisher of record in Books In Print or any of the industry databases, such as Barnes & Noble or Amazon, or in the databases of wholesalers such as Ingram.

Think of an ISBN number as a driver’s license for your book – it tells retailers everything they need to know about your book at a glance. However, if you buy an ISBN from an illegitimate source, it’s along the same lines as buying a driver’s license on a street corner: you’re certainly buying a license, but you don’t know whose you’re buying!

You have spent time bringing your book to life, make sure you obtain an ISBN from a legitimate source like Publisher Services to make it available to as many potential readers as possible!