How to Obtain an ISBN for Your Indie Published Book through CreateSpace

How to Obtain an ISBN for Your Indie Published Book through CreateSpace

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What is an ISBN?

ISBN is short for “International Standard Book Number” and is used to identify physically published books. Since 2007, ISBNs have been 13 digits long. Before that, the ISBN-10 reigned supreme. The only supplier of ISBNs in the United States is Bowker. They have an agreement with CreateSpace, which offers a lower price per ISBN. If you are not planing on using CreateSpace, you can buy ISBNs direct from Bowker.

The ISBN for our book, Scout and Malcolm, is pictured below. Check it out on Amazon here.

Scout and Malcolm ISBN

Do I Need an ISBN?

When publishing a physical book through CreateSpace, you need to obtain an ISBN. This is not the case when publishing an ebook through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). With KDP, you will automatically be assigned an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) and do not need an ISBN. You also do not need to purchase an ISBN to publish an ebook through Kobo.


How do I Obtain an ISBN?

After you have started the new project and filled out your title information, you can move onto the ISBN section of the CreateSpace process.

ISBN 1

ISBN 2

You will encounter four options, as pictured below.

ISBN 3

Free CreateSpace-Assigned ISBN

Positives:

-FREE

-Available to Libraries and Academic Institutions (One of Three Expanded Distribution Channels)

Negatives:

-CreateSpace is listed as the Publisher. You cannot have your own imprint listed.

Custom ISBN

Positives:

-Your imprint name is listed as the publisher.

-Relatively cheap. At the time of this writing, it only costs $10.

-Convenience. You can sign up for it through CreateSpace.

Negatives:

-Lack of movability. You cannot use this ISBN anywhere else than through CreateSpace.

Custom Universal ISBN

Positives:

-Movability. You can use the ISBN if you publish your physical books through other publishers besides CreateSpace.

-Convenience. You can sign up for it through CreateSpace.

-Cost: $99 is cheaper than 1 ISBN through Bowker, which presently costs $125.

Negatives:

-Cost: $99 vs $30/ISBN in the 10 Pack bundle.

Provide Your Own ISBN

Positives:

-Movability. You can use the ISBN if you publish your physical books through other publishers besides CreateSpace.

-Cost: Cheaper per ISBN if purchased in a multi-pack. At the time of this writing, Bowker is offering ISBNs on sale 10 ISBNs for $250, reduced by $45.

Negatives:

-Less Convenient. Purchase through Bowker at myidentifiers.com instead of through Amazon.

-Cost: Expensive. While the cost per ISBN is cheaper if you buy more than one, it can be a big investment (hundreds of dollars) for Indie Authors.

Fill out the Form

We chose the $10 Custom ISBN for cost reasons. Movability was less of an issue for us because we only planned to sell through CreateSpace.

ISBN 4

Receive ISBN

We received both a 13 and 10 digit ISBN, but only put the 13 digit code into the front matter of our book.

ISBN 5

Next Steps

After you have your ISBN, you will want to obtain an LCCN or Library of Congress Control Number. You will also need to design and format the interior and exterior of your book. When you submit your cover, you will leave a blank space where CreateSpace will print your ISBN when you order a proof or a customer orders your book.

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How to Obtain an ISBN for Indie Published Books

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Z.Y. DOYLE

Howdy! We are a two-sister writing team in sunny Arizona. We are authors, photographers, and Woof Trekkers. Read our blog for posts about food, positivity, pets, self-publishing, and travel.
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