Friday, May 20, 2011

How did you get an ISBN?

Getting a book printed requires a bunch of steps which I've already discussed here. One of those steps is to get an ISBN and a barcode. I'm going to explain how I went about doing this. Of course this is different for American's who have to pay for their ISBN's.

First of all I had to decide whether or not I really needed an ISBN of my very own. Both Lulu and CreateSpace will provide them for free so long as they are shown as being the publisher. This isn't really a big deal unless you want to publish the book through more then one company. Then there are legal problems that pop up. Rather than deal with all of that confusing stuff, I decided to get my own, especially since its free in Canada anyway.

When I looked into getting an ISBN, I got super confused because Canada has a system called CISS. You need a CISS account to get a ISBN. It doesn't take too much to get started, you just need to finish a form which asks you some questions about what you plan on printing.

Once you complete that, it's just a couple of weeks wait to see if they approve your application. This probably won't be a problem, but as usual I was freaking out a little, thinking I'd done something wrong, especially when they were a couple days slow getting back to me.

After that, you can have up to 10 ISBN's, and don't forget you need a different one for each type of book you print. For example, if you print a paper copy and an e-book copy, you'll need two different ISBN's.

Also, if you're printing your book, you'll probably want to have a UPC barcode. This you will have to purchase, and you'll need your ISBN in order to buy it. They really aren't expensive at around $15 or so. This part was a bit confusing, and I'm not entirely sure I did it perfectly, so I won't go any more in depth for this section.

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