All About ISBN’s

What is an ISBN number?
The “International Standard Book Number” is a 13 digit number issued to identify your publication.  This number is linked to all the information about your book including; the title, author, binding style, etc. This is different from a copyright or a barcode.  This number is owned by the person who obtains the ISBN.  An ISBN number can’t be linked to more than one book.

ISBN with price

Why does my book need this?
An ISBN number is not required but is good to have when distributing your book.  It is unique to each title and version of a title printed, so if you have a hard and soft cover version of your book – you will need two different ISBN numbers.

Can you sell me an ISBN number?
PG does not sell ISBN numbers; to obtain an ISBN Number, you can contact Bowker.  They offer services to obtain ISBN numbers in a short period of time.  Publishers’ Graphics does offer services to convert the ISBN number into a barcode.  We offer the barcode associated with the ISBN number with or without a price.

What do all the numbers mean?

Each ISBN number is basically a code that refers to information that publishers and bookstores need to sell your book.  Here’s a breakdown:







The following link can also help provide you with more details on ISBN numbers.

  1. I wrote a book and I’m planning to self-publish it; my next step is to get an ISBN. Your article has been of great help regarding this issue, as well as the reference links. I’ve been up and down the internet these days and found various information. This site for example mentions one price for for ISBNs (rather high), but I also found a website that mentions an agency Smashwords where you can buy ISBN for $9.99. So, my question is has anyone tried Smashword’s services and is it important to go with the official agency for this?

    Thanks in advance

    • Thanks for your comment, Isidora, and I’m happy you enjoyed the post. Although I don’t have any specific experience with Smashword’s services, I would suggest going to one of the many author’s (self-publisher’s etc..) groups on LinkedIn, and posing that question to the group. I’m sure you will get plenty of feedback there.

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