How to get an ISBN for your Self-published Book

How to get an ISBN for your Book as a Self-published Author

How to get an ISBN for your Book as a Self-published Author

Self-published authors need to get through many surprising hurdles before their books are ready to be published. One checkbox that most first-time authors don’t anticipate is getting an ISBN.

ISBN numbers are mainly used by booksellers, publishers, internet retailers, libraries and all the other supply chain participants. It is used for listing, ordering, sales records, and stock control purposes.

Why do Self-published Authors need ISBNs?

If you want to sell your eBook on Amazon, you don’t have to assign an ISBN number as Amazon will assign an ASIN number itself. But mind you that’s only for Amazon. In case you want to print your book then you are going to need an ISBN number. This is more important when you want your book to be available through libraries or want to deal with retailers and wholesalers.

How to buy an ISBN?

If you are a self-published author, chances are that you don’t have to buy an ISBN. That’s because of the services provided to self-published authors. There are many self-publishing companies that can help you to get your ISBN.

Many of you may not know this, ISBNs are available for free in many countries. It is either provided by a publicly administered branch or by the government. The best way to get your ISBN number is to go to a local ISBN agency. ISBNs are assigned locally, but you can still use them internationally.

To get an ISBN number for your book, follow these three simple steps:

  1. Create an account with Bowker MyIdentifiers at
  2. Choose a package with the number of ISBNs you’ll need. If you plan to get multiple books into print, you might choose a package with 10 or more ISBNs. You’ll need a different ISBN for each format you produce (hardcover, paperback, abridged, etc.).
  3. Check out and pay for your ISBNs.

How many ISBNs to get?

Before diving into this topic, let us first clear a few things. You can use an ISBN number only once. If you have already assigned an ISBN to a book, it becomes a unique identification of that particular book. You cannot use the same ISBN on any other book even if you want to. For every specific version and format of the book, you need to have an ISBN number.  If you have only one book to publish, buying one ISBN will do.

Problems with multiple ISBNs

If you have multiple ISBNs for the same book, it can actually create many problems for you. The worst part is that the problems will repeat every time you find a new way of distributing your book. But this will eventually lead to having multiple ISBNs from different publishers, all for the same book. In this case, it’s going to make you look very unprofessional. Also, there are many stores that will refuse to stock your books because of this very reason. However, you can solve all these problems by buying your own ISBN number.

Libraries and ISBNs

If you wish to make your books available in a library, you need to have an ISBN for your book. Since libraries have become an important part of the distribution of eBooks, you cannot afford to ignore this chance. Therefore, having an ISBN is a must.

ISBN resources to make it easier. Here are some ISBN resources that will make things easier for you.

  • International ISBN Agency
  • Bowkerlink Publisher Access System
  • U.s Copyright Office
  • Bowker Identifier Services
  • by Bowker

An ISBN is a must-have for every book that you publish. Now that you know the details of the ISBN format, you can understand its importance. If you are a self-publishing author, you need to have knowledge about the ISBN number before you get into formatting your book

It is the vital part of a book when you want to publish. You also need to know about the ASIN system, if you have plans to publish your book on Amazon. Both the formats are different but they serve the same purpose. Hopefully, this article could provide you with the details you were looking for.

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