Monday, April 25, 2011

ISBN Numbers and Bar Codes

If you self-publish and e-publish you may have to get your own ISBN number in order to place your product in a store or an on-line store. If you do, here is what they are and where to get them.

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique, numerical commercial book identification number. When you publish a paper book it must have an ISBN number and a related barcode on the back if you intend to place it on or in bookstores. If you publish an ebook ISBN numbers are only required on sites like Sony and IPad and barcodes are not need at all.

The price of the paper book goes on the ISBN Barcode when you order it. If you are self-publishing you can generally buy ISBN numbers from the self-publisher or from companies that specialize in selling ISBN barcodes. They come by email as .jpegs and are easily attached to the cover art. If you published a book without barcodes on the cover you can print them on labels and paste them to the cover.

Different ISBN numbers must be put on each variation of a book (except reprints). For example, hard cover books get one ISBN number, paperbacks a different ISBN number, e-books another ISBN number. If for some reason you change the price of the book, you also have to get a new ISBN number. If you notice, when they make sales at the big bookstores they make different barcodes that are pasted on the covers – so you need new barcodes if you change the price of your book.

ISBN numbers are for books only. Bar Codes that are not ISBN specific go on other products like CDs, audio books and DVDs. You get those barcodes from sources that specialize in them. Once again, you can’t get these products in stores like and into bookstores and other commercial venues without barcodes.

The company I contact for ISBN bar codes is :

Bar Code Graphics, Inc.
444 N. Michigan Ave #3500
Chicago, IL 60611
312-595-0725 Fax

The person I contact for non-book barcodes is:
(888) 446-CODE (2633)

Getting an ISBN number is only half the process. Next you must register the fact that you bought the ISBN Number because without that registration you can’t get a PAD number and without that you can’t place books in major book stores. You want to register your ISBN number with Bowker’s “Books In Print.”

The address to register is:

If you have a ten number ISBN number you need to convert it to a 13 digit ISBN number which is easy. Google ISBN Conversion and then click on Type in the ISBN 10 digit number and hit submit and you will get your 13-digit number.

If you are using to publish you have to go to your dashboard/ISBNManager and when you give them your new ISBN number they will register it with Bowkers for you. You do not need to do that if you want to publish on Kindle and Barnes & Noble, you do need to if you are planning to be published on IPad and Sony.

Excerpt from "How To Write A Book That Positions You As An Expert In Your Field"

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