Busting Some ISBN Myths

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* Topic: Busting Some ISBN Myths
* The Novel (and Keep Coming Back)
* Of Interest

Quotes of the Day

“I’ve never experienced writer’s block. That is especially true after discovering WITD. … If you don’t know the path (only the characters do), then it’s impossible for a block to exist. [F]or the writer, the path to be blocked doesn’t even exist. And therein lies the fun.” Dan Baldwin on an article in yesterday’s “Of Interest”

“[PG] suggests that anyone designing a book cover needs to understand that good levels of sales on Amazon are almost requirements for success.” from a note on a post on book covers in “Of Interest”

Topic: Busting Some ISBN Myths

A long-time writing acquaintance emailed me yesterday to ask some questions about ISBNs. What he thought he knew was actually a little skewered—for example, his assumption that Amazon assigns ISBNs to ebooks (they don’t)—so I thought I’d use my response as today’s post.

First, ebooks do not require an ISBN at Amazon or at many other ebook sellers. Amazon assigns an ASIN (Amazon Standard Inventory Number).

And just so you know, NO books, paper or electronic or audio, require an LCCN (Library of Congress Catalog Number), though a lot of scammers will tell you they do (and of course, sell you one).

Second, where aggregators such as Smashwords or Draft2Digital (D2D) DO assign an ISBN to an ebook, that is only for those retailers who require an ISBN for some reason.

If you want to publish both an ebook and a paper book version of My Famous Novel, you have to use separate ISBNs. (However, you do NOT need separate ISBNs for different electronic formats of the same ebook [.mobi, .epub, .pdf or any other eformats]).

So you can either use the free ISBN for your ebook OR you can assign an ISBN you bought. But for the paper edition, do you have to purchase an ISBN from Bowker?

Well, not really.

I have published several paper books through CreateSpace, which Amazon eventually absorbed. CreateSpace provided a free ISBN to paper books in exchange for them being listed as the official publisher of record.

I don’t know whether Amazon Print and D2D Print (or whatever they’re called) also offer a free ISBN for paper books, though I suspect they do. Some of you probably know that. If you’d care to comment, other readers would be grateful.

I personally use the ISBN that either D2D or Smashwords assigns to my ebooks for those vendors who require it. StoneThread Publishing, complete with its URL, is listed prominently in the ebook as the publisher anyway.

For titles I publish through Smashwords, below the title and my name on the title page, I always insert”the Smashwords edition of” before “a novel from StoneThread Publishing” on the next line. It looks like this:

For titles I publish through Amazon or D2D, I omit the line about Smashwords. Otherwise there’s no difference between the two manuscripts. (And there are two manuscripts. One file is named “13-Month Turn.doc” and the other is “13-Month Turn smash.doc.”

All of that said, if I personally ever chose to publish my works to paper again, I would purchase a block of ISBNs from Bowker, all assigned to my publisher, StoneThread Publishing.

But that’s just me. As with all things, you have to do what you believe is right for you. Besides, I probably won’t ever publish my works in paper format again, so to me it doesn’t matter.

My friend also listed these two articles from Reedsy. I have not read them and I’m not vouching for them. I’m only passing them along. If there is a disparity between what the Reedsy authors write and what I wrote above, I strongly suggest you go with what I wrote.

What is an ISBN Number? A Look at Publishing’s ID System

How to Get an ISBN Number as a Self-Published Author

The Novel

This will be my last update up here in the text portion of the Journal for this novel unless something happens that I think everyone would find interesting or informative.

My new daily word count goal is 3500 words per day. I was all set to fall a little short yesterday. My little cat (I consider her my youngest daughter) has been wheezing badly and losing weight for awhile.

Naturally, I was scared to find out what might be wrong, balanced with a need to know whether a vet might be able to treat and correct the problem. Yesterday we got an appointment at 11:45 to have our vet check out my little baby girl.

Only problem is, the vet is an hour away. So we drove over, my wife driving, me trying to comfort the baby (she still sleeps on my left arm every night). After blood tests and then xrays (no sedation required, she’s that good of a girl) it turned out she has asthma.

I can’t adequately explain the level of my relief. I don’t mind telling you I was a mess for much of the day.

So the vet gave her a steroid shot. If she responds well to that, and I noticed her breathing improved through the night last night, he’ll write a scrip in a week or two. So that worked out.

Anyway, we got home around 2. Soon afterward my wife went to the grocery alone (something we usually do together) to give me time to return to the novel for awhile.

When she got back, I stopped writing, saved the file, and helped tote groceries into the house and put them away. Then I went back to the novel, checked the word count and did the math.

I was surprised to see that I’d surpassed my new daily word count goal by 5 words. (grin) Woohoo! And that, my friends, is the power of Keep Coming Back.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Branding” at https://deanwesleysmith.com/branding/.

See “Typos and shutdowns: robot ‘gives evidence’ to Lords committee” at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/oct/11/typos-and-shutdowns-robot-gives-evidence-to-lords-committee.

See “The Key Elements of Eye-Catching Book Cover Design” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/the-key-elements-of-eye-catching-book-cover-design/. But see PG’s comments.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 1010 words

Writing of The Stirchians (novel, tentative title)

Day 1…… 4106 words. Total words to date…… 4106
Day 1…… 3505 words. Total words to date…… 7611

Total fiction words for October……… 15813
Total fiction words for the year………… 136195
Total nonfiction words for October… 9690
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 162910
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 299105

Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 2
Calendar Year 2022 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2022 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 68
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

Disclaimer: In this Journal, I discuss various aspects of the writing craft. I also illustrate, with my own writing, a Zen-like non-process called Writing Into the Dark and what is possible when you trust the characters to tell the story that they, not you, are living. WITD also leads to greatly increase productivity and a rapid ascension along the learning curve because you get a great deal more Practice. This is not opinion. It is all numbers and facts.

6 thoughts on “Busting Some ISBN Myths”

  1. KDP Print DOES offer a free ISBN for paperback books, just like Createspace did.

    I can’t speak to D2D’s print arm, though. I haven’t had call to use that, so I haven’t looked at what they do/don’t offer.

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