What is an ISBN?
International Standard Book Number or for short ISBN. ISBN is a 13-digit number to identify each book you’ve published and planning to sell them. Just like barcodes for every product sold in the grocery stores. A barcode tells identify the details of the product when it’s being scanned. For instance, full cream milk has one barcode of its own, fat-free milk has another different barcode even it’s from the same company. Same way as it is for books, each version of a book needs its own ISBN on the book to identify the bookstore/bookseller which version of your book is being sold.
This means you’ll be needing a different ISBN for a different version of your published book. For instance, if you publish one version of your book using a paperback and the other version using a hardcover, then it’ll need two different ISBN for every book.
How do you get an ISBN?
In some places is free with some term conditions applied and in some other place, you could also purchase it. Publishing your children’s book through Amazon’s KDP will provide you with a free ISBN, this ISBN only available to use on the Amazon platform and won’t allow you to use it on any other platform. Using these methods will keep your name or the name of your company as the publisher of the book and listed as an independent publisher.
Other than Amazon, Ingram Spark also offer free ISBN for every children’s book that’s being published through them. But they also restrict using their ISBN outside Ingram Spark and will be listed as Indypub as the publisher.
This means when you’re planning on selling your children’s book outside of these two platforms, you first need to purchase your own ISBN.
Where can you purchase ISBN for your book?
If you live in the United States of America, you can purchase ISBN from Bowker. You can purchase a single ISBN or in a bundle of 10, 100, or 1,000. Cost for a single ISBN on Bowker, you’ll need to pay $125 or $295 for 10 ISBNs which only cost you $29.50/ISBN. Just think of what you’re planning to sell your books, if you’re planning to sell your book in 3 different versions (paperback, hardcover, and board book) means you’ll need to buy 3 different ISBN. Buying a single ISBN won’t be inefficient, therefore choosing to buy 10 ISBN will be a good way.
If you're a citizen of the United Kingdom, you can purchase ISBN through Nielsen Book UK. Just like Bowker, Nielsen available to sell ISBN in a single unit, 10, 100, or 1,000. As for a single ISBN, you’ll need to pay €89 or for 10 ISBNs will cost you €164.000 (only €16.40/ ISBN).
Whereas in Australia, you can purchase ISBNs through Thorpe-Bowker is located in Victoria State. Also, through Thorpe-Bowker, you can purchase ISBN in a single unit, 10, 100, or 1,000. For a single ISBN is cost $44 or $88 for 10 ISBNs, which only cost you $8.80/ISBN.
The good news for people who live in Canada, you can obtain a free ISBN through ISBN Canada System.
So, when do I need a new or different ISBN for my children’s book?
- When you add new chapters in your book or change a new title for your children’s book.
- Changing a publisher or taking back your rights (changing from selling on Amazon/Ingram Sparks), you’ll need a new ISBN.
But if you just fixing a minor thing such as fixing typos, adding a few words, updating a cover art, you won’t be needing a new ISBN.
Do I need multiple ISBNs if I sell them together?
Does your book only available to purchase as in a package or it is available to purchase individually. If it’s only available in a package, then you’ll need one ISBN for that package/box set. But if it's also available to be purchase individually, then you need an ISBN for every single book that’s in that package.
Does ISBNs expire?
No, ISBN does not expire, it lasts for your entire lifetime.