There are lots of different reasons to make your own book. Some are personal projects that reflect the closeness and connection of family and friends. And some are made to travel—to be out in the world, seen, shared, and sold.
Books on the move need an ISBN, or International Standard Book Number. The ISBN is the numerical fingerprint for each edition of your book. It’s a 10-13 digit number that sits on the back of your book, identifying it to publishers, libraries, book dealers, wholesalers, warehouses, and retailers. An ISBN connects your book to the book industry, helping it link into the chain of the printer, distributor, retailer, and consumer.
If you want to be able to sell your book anywhere, or list it on more than one channel, you need an ISBN. That’s why at Blurb, we issue ISBNs for free with any book made using Blurb BookWright®, our Plug-in for Adobe InDesign or our PDF to Book workflow.
Softcover, hardcover, ebook formats, and new editions of your book will all have a separate ISBN. For reference, a single ISBN sells for $125. So, getting yours for free can help keep your distribution costs down.
An ISBN grants your book access to wider distribution channels: you need it to sell your book online, get it into libraries, brick-and-mortar bookstores, and in the standard database for all books in print. The database catalog lists the publisher, access and purchasing information, and descriptive data about each ISBN.
It distinguishes your book from any other with the same or similar title, since titles are not protected by copyright. When people go online book shopping, if they have the ISBN, it’s your book they find.
Bottom line: You don’t need an ISBN for personal projects where you’ll only print a couple copies. You DO need an ISBN if you intend to distribute or sell your book in any way. And you can get yours for free from Blurb.
An ISBN helps you get your book discovered, makes it possible to track in distribution, and gives it sales capabilities. If you need that, take advantage of the ones we offer through our book-making tools!