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View Full Version : ISBN Providers - Some Thoughts



tammay
09-25-2016, 07:50 PM
Hi good people,
I am in the process of formatting my first book and I'm grappling right now with the issue of ISBN numbers. I've been doing a search in this forum and have gotten a lot of great information.

I've been doing a bit of research about ISBNs provided by self-publishing platforms and one article was saying that when you use an ISBN given by, say, Smashwords or CreateSpace, they own the files of your work, not you, so they can do what they like with it. Is that true?


Also, I found these 2 websites that offer discounted ISBN numbers:
ePubBud: http://www.epubbud.com/isbn.php
ISBN Services: http://www.isbnservices.com/product/basic-isbn-number-barcode/


Anybody know anything about them?

The FAQ on the ePubBud website states the following: "Note: all the ISBNs we distribute have "ePub Bud" as the publisher in the Bowker database. Don't worry though, that fact does not convey any rights to us, nor does it affect your ability to do anything you'd like with your book (or the ISBN), publish it anywhere, keep all royalties for yourself, etc, etc.. Bowker just won't let us change the publisher field for less than $75 an ISBN (and therefore we don't offer that)!"

However, my understanding (from researching and asking other self-published writers) is that if you don't own the ISBN (as would be the case here), this isn't exactly true. Any thoughts?

Thank you for the help!

Tam

Polenth
09-25-2016, 09:34 PM
Hi good people,I've been doing a bit of research about ISBNs provided by self-publishing platforms and one article was saying that when you use an ISBN given by, say, Smashwords or CreateSpace, they own the files of your work, not you, so they can do what they like with it. Is that true?

No, it isn't true. They don't own your book or the files containing your book. What ePub Bud is offering is exactly what you get with the free ISBNs: they own the ISBNs and assign one to you. In other words, there's no point in doing that when you can get them for free from the self-publishing sites.

Buying ISBNs from the source is a different thing, but you don't need to do that to keep control of your work. People buy ISBNs so they'll be listed as the publisher. Copyright and the like remain yours either way.

Old Hack
09-26-2016, 10:22 AM
When you buy ISBNs you're listed as publisher of record on all books which those ISBNs are then attached to. If you then sell on those ISBNs you will still be listed as publisher of record for those books. That cannot be changed. So if a writer buys ISBNs from a service, that service will be publisher of record for those books.

This doesn't mean that the service will own the files or the books or anything else. What it does mean, however, is that Amazon, for example, might well decide to pay royalties to the service, rather than to the author; that the author won't be able to put their own imprint name on the book in the various online retailers; and so on.

Devil Ledbetter
09-26-2016, 06:08 PM
However, my understanding (from researching and asking other self-published writers) is that if you don't own the ISBN (as would be the case here), this isn't exactly true. Any thoughts?

Thank you for the help!

Tam
While buying your own single ISBN is pricey ($99, iirc), buying a block is worthwhile if you intend to publish multiple books. I bought a block of 10 ISBNs direct from Bowker, which came to $25 a piece. I have several existing novels I intend to polish for self-publication. Had bought a larger block of ISBNs I'd have enjoyed a bigger price break. The question to ask yourself is, is the money you'll save by going with a middleman like ePubBud worth potentially giving up your rights or full control as the publisher of record?

For me, it wasn't.

romance2die4
10-31-2016, 01:45 AM
I have a rather unique problem with the ISBN numbers because I live in Germany. I researched it some, and apparently, you are supposed to buy the ISBN numbers from the country in which you are a legal resident. The problem for me is that in Germany they will only sell one ISBN number to an individual. If you want more, you have to register yourself as a business. Registering myself as a business at this point is out of the question due to the tax ramifications which are too complicated to go into here. I have considered going ahead and purchasing them from Browker in the US, but I am afraid it may be a problem down the road with reporting taxes, etc. If I were to create my own business one day then it would make more sense to do it in Germany, and then my ISBN numbers would be US. I don't know if the ISBN police would come after me or what. One ISBN does very little for me since I have a four book series and a fifth book coming out soon. It is laughable. I have decided that my only option is to use the POD ISBNs that they have on offer although it is not my first choice. I am still confused as to whether the ISBN the POD assigns remains with the book for all print editions even if you leave the POD company. From the previous posts, it sounds like you can change the ISBN at a later date, for instance, to your own purchased number. It is all very confusing. Right about now I am wishing that I had moved to Canada not Germany.

Old Hack
10-31-2016, 10:39 AM
I am still confused as to whether the ISBN the POD assigns remains with the book for all print editions even if you leave the POD company. From the previous posts, it sounds like you can change the ISBN at a later date, for instance, to your own purchased number. It is all very confusing. Right about now I am wishing that I had moved to Canada not Germany.

Each ISBN belongs to a single edition. So if you produce another print edition it should have a new ISBN.

romance2die4
10-31-2016, 11:51 AM
If I understand correctly, that means if you move from publisher to publisher each move would require a new ISBN. If you have your own ISBN numbers from Browker, and you change publishers, you would need to assign it another one of your own because that would mean it is a new edition, right?

Old Hack
10-31-2016, 04:27 PM
Each new edition requires a new ISBN. So yes, if a book is first published by one publisher and then later published by another, or is published in a different format, then all of those new books require a new ISBN. The publisher should supply the ISBN, not the writer; but if you're self publishing you're the publisher, so you supply them.