Skip navigation
This discussion is archived
89,623 Views 47 Replies Last post: Dec 28, 2012 4:40 PM by 58bookish59 RSS
  1 2 3 4 Previous Next
Level 0 1 posts since
Apr 17, 2012
Currently Being Moderated

May 16, 2012 9:22 AM

ISBN Buyers Remorse

I've come across a bit of an issue I was hoping to inquire with the community about.

 

A little bit of background first:

 

Earlier this year, I decided to write a children's book for the assistance dog program I volunteer with and, up until recently, I'd only had distant contact with the publishing industry  Now, with the project complete, I thought to declare my commitment to being a writer by purchasing a block of ISBNs from Bar Code Graphics (http://www.barcode-us.com/).  Foolishly, it seems.

 

I tried to plug one of the ISBN codes into Createspace's system and it said "The provided ISBN is registered to a known publisher."  I looked into it and even e-mailed the company, to which they replied with a wall of text supposedly buried somewhere in their website; it seems these codes are unusable with Createspace.  Understandable, given that they are, in a sense, used.

 

If I understand it correctly, I just gave money to a reseller of ISBN codes.

 

My question is, what should I do with these ISBN codes "I" now possess?  Is there another site comparable to this one that will accept them?  Or should I try to push for a refund?

Level 5 19,528 posts since
Sep 5, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
1. May 16, 2012 10:06 AM in response to: Forgotten
Re: ISBN Buyers Remorse

Because of the price difference between purchasing a single ISBN from Bowker at $125 each and a block of 1000, at $1.75 each, reselling ISBN can be profitable.

 

The problem is that those reseller companies are listed as the publisher, not you and not CS.

 

I don't think there is anything illegal, but I'd call it predatory!

 

Bottom line, if they won't refund your money, I don't think there is anything you can do.

 

Walton

Level 5 5,599 posts since
Jan 17, 2010
Currently Being Moderated
2. May 16, 2012 12:14 PM in response to: walton
Re: ISBN Buyers Remorse

For anyone else stumbling across this thread, if you wish to purchase your own ISBNs in the USA, you should only go to MyIdentifiers.com (part of Bowker). They are the only direct source (as far as I know) for legit, registerable ISBNs outside of a POD printer like CS (who has an agreement in place with Bowker).

 

Sarah
Editor & Book Designer
http://sleepingcatbooks.com
Find us on Facebook

 

Accepting submissions for character-themed anthology
The Storm is here! View the trailer

Level 5 19,528 posts since
Sep 5, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
3. May 16, 2012 1:11 PM in response to: Seisa
Re: ISBN Buyers Remorse

Just a tad more . . . when CS announced the Custom ISBN and the Custom Universal ISBN, there was skepticism in the forum as whether these were even possible as described.  I contacted the US ISBN Agency and they confirmed that both ISBNs function as described.   So if someone in the US only needs one ISBN that could work anywhere, they save $25 by buying from CS.  If they don't need a portable ISBN (only printing through CS), but want to show you (your imprint, etc.)  as the publisher, it's hard to beat the $10 Custom ISBN.

 

Walton

Level 5 6,015 posts since
Mar 10, 2012
Currently Being Moderated
4. May 16, 2012 2:08 PM in response to: walton
Re: ISBN Buyers Remorse

Quick, slightly related question. Does anyone know if the ISBN's used as free ISBN's through CS are purchased  by CS through Bowker in bulk, seems to me that since Amazon has a registered canadian company they would be eligible to set CS up as a canadian Imprint and use our free ISBN's for this, not sure if it crosses any lines but it would certainly save them money in the long run.

 

R. C.

Level 5 19,528 posts since
Sep 5, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
5. May 16, 2012 4:13 PM in response to: Forgotten
Re: ISBN Buyers Remorse

The problem expressed by the OP is that there are quite a few companies online who offer ISBNs at very good prices, who sound and look like all those agents who promise so much . . . in the very small print on some distant page, the hapless customer discovers that the company he purchased the ISBN from will be listed as the publisher.

 

This is legal. This is predatory.  This is shameful. That is the issue.

 

Walton

Level 5 15,645 posts since
May 4, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
6. May 16, 2012 4:16 PM in response to: R.C.
Re: ISBN Buyers Remorse

Everything CS does seems to be very US-centric, so I'd be surprised if they were using Canadian ISBNs. Not sure what quantities CS is buying ISBNs in, but I reckon they equate to a few cents a piece. Just part of their general overhead.

 

It's probably cheaper for them in terms of labour costs/automation to do daily uploads to Bowker for Books in Print than it would be to register each ISBN at the Canadian (or other) agency.

 

 

 

Michelle

-------------

Odyssey Books -- editing, cover design and book formatting services to help you on your publishing journey.

Level 5 15,645 posts since
May 4, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
7. May 16, 2012 4:19 PM in response to: walton
Re: ISBN Buyers Remorse

walton wrote:

 

This is legal. This is predatory.  This is shameful. That is the issue.

 

I agree. I hope the OP gets a refund, as these ISBNs are not fit for purpose.

 

 

 

Michelle

-------------

Odyssey Books -- editing, cover design and book formatting services to help you on your publishing journey.

Level 5 13,024 posts since
Aug 22, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
8. May 16, 2012 6:10 PM in response to: Forgotten
Re: ISBN Buyers Remorse

Based on your link, you purchased your ISBNs from the Publisher Services division of Bar Code Graphics.

 

This company provides a full range of book design, formatting, conversion, printing, distribution, and fulfillment services -- much like CreateSpace and many others.  They are listed as a Bowker-authorized reseller of single ISBNs in the U.S. (CreateSpace is not, however, in another post somewhere, I seem to recall walton getting somebody at Bowker to confirm that CS actually is an authorized reseller).

 

In addition to its free ISBN, CS offers two ISBN options for sale.  So does Publisher Services -- and in my opinion, they explain exactly what those are and how they can be used much more clearly than CS does (one is comparable to CS's $10 "Custom" and can only be used with them, and the other is comparable to CS's $99 "Custom Universal" and can be used anywhere).

 

I can understand your confusion if you were new to all this, and your remorse if you didn't research carefully enough, but your choices at this point (assuming you bought the cheaper ISBN option) would be to either print your book through them, or possibly contact them to see if you can exchange or get credit for these toward the purchase of the more expensive ISBN option that you now know you really wanted.

 

Although I've never used the services of this company, they are a member in good standing of two publishing industry trade associations to which I belong, and they are a BBB-accredited business with an A+ rating -- and what they were offering seemed quite clear to me.  I wouldn't consider them "predatory."

 

Good luck in resolving this.

Level 1 166 posts since
Apr 19, 2012
Currently Being Moderated
9. May 16, 2012 7:52 PM in response to: walton
Re: ISBN Buyers Remorse

THAT would explain why I'm seeing such a crazy variety of prices on ISBN numbers, with some advertised for $5 when Bowker is selling them for $125, I knew the $5 ISBN's had to have a catch to them, and Walton cleared that up by revealing the third party mass-block purchases for resale, and the drawback of the number not being associated with you or CS but effectively designating the  reseller of the number as the "publisher"

 

Personally I think charging $125 for a number is pretty outrageous and reminds me of domain name resellers.

Level 5 19,528 posts since
Sep 5, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
10. May 17, 2012 6:05 AM in response to: Wolfpause
Re: ISBN Buyers Remorse

Bowker has been around a long time. There products (Books In Print, Literary Market Place, ISBN agent for US, etc.) are expensive to produce and maintain. I do not know anything about the author/manuscript services.

 

My answer above reflects a certain carelessness: I did not look at http://www.barcode-us.com/.  A year ago or so, I did look at about four of the online, buy an ISBN cheap, sites. My recollection is that they only provided inexpensive ISBN, which, when I dug deeper into their sites, did advise that they would be listed as the publisher: this was in no way obvious unless you knew to look for it.  These sites are clearly predatory.

 

Lighthouse's response above reminds me that I should have checked further. Barcode-us does offer publishing and distribution services. However, for a 300 page book, they charge from $6.96 each for 1500 books ($10,440 order), to $25.19 each for 10 book (their minimum . . . $251.90 order); whereas CS charges $4.45.  They could be using CS for all I know, and they make a tidy profit.

 

I'd still say the barcode-us is on the we-take-advantage-of-you side . . .

 

Walton

Level 5 13,024 posts since
Aug 22, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
11. May 17, 2012 7:17 AM in response to: walton
Re: ISBN Buyers Remorse

walton wrote:

I'd still say the barcode-us is on the we-take-advantage-of-you side . . .

How so?  Again, this page spells out their ISBN options much more clearly than CS does in my view -- it even mentions CreateSpace specifically, and tells customers which plan to choose if they intend to print through CS.

 

As far as pricing (on printing or anything else), consider CreateSpace -- they charge $139 to print 500 standard business cards, while most business stationery printers can produce 500 premium business cards for about $16.  Several of us here (including you, I think) offer design and layout services for which CS charges far more (plus we offer much faster turnaround and more personal service).  So is CreateSpace also taking advantage of people by charging much higher prices for certain products or services they offer?

 

The truth is, both companies (and lots of other firms out there) are counting on authors being a little too eager to self-publish, and consequently making decisions to purchase various products and services before they fully understand what they're buying.  You were able to determine (and compare) the cost of printing up-front.  If you subsequently choose the higher price, how is that an indictment of their business practices?

 

My point to the OP was that this doesn't seem to be a scam company, and that he/she had two possible options for the ISBNs already purchased from them (which was the original question: what should I do with these?).  My suggestion to use them with that company, or see if that company will work out a deal to essentially exchange or upgrade them, seemed more helpful than saying you got ripped-off, so too bad for you.

Level 5 19,528 posts since
Sep 5, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
12. May 17, 2012 8:41 AM in response to: Lighthouse24
Re: ISBN Buyers Remorse

I wasn't really arguing, you were right in checking the company, and I was wrong.

 

There is of course nothing illegal or immoral about selling ISBNs at a good price as compared to Bowker's.  (And, there is nothing wrong with literary agents charging a fee, nore with the Writer's Digest approach to successful writing and publishing.)

 

Disclaimer: I have bought barcodes from www.barcode-us.com, and I was a pleased customer.  $10/barcode was a great price compared to Bowker's.  (BookSurge did not provide barcodes.) On that score, I have nothing bad to say.  (Now, I either generate my own, or use http://www.terryburton.co.uk/barcodewriter/generator/)

 

The book pricing is clear, obvious, transparent; but it is just a smidgeon higher than CS.  I have no problem with that.

 

General explanation of ISBN products: http://www.isbn-us.com/ippexplaination.htm

Independent Publisher: http://www.isbn-us.com/ipporder.htm

Personalized Publisher: http://shop.1asecure.com/prod.cfm?Stid=5087&ProdID=277855

 

Independent Publisher Program

 

Self publishers/authors who plan on selling direct via the internet, Amazon Advantage or in person (seminars, church, book  fairs, etc.) are a perfect fit for our Independent Publisher Program.  ISBN assignments via the Independent Publisher Program (a division of  Bar Code Graphics, Inc.) are from our inventory of ISBNs acquired under  the registrant name of "Independent Publisher". While the cost of an  ISBN within this program is less expensive than as compared to the Personalized Publisher Program,  ISBN attribution within major bibliographic databases such as Books in  Print will be assigned to Independent Publisher as the listed publisher  within such databases and not your own publishing company. Regardless of  which program you choose, you retain full ownership of the copyright  and intellectual property of your publication.

 

ISBN assignment is normally received within minutes (M-F) via e-mail.  Title information may be provided at the time of order (optional) or a  questionnaire will included in the e-mail ISBN assignment to obtain  barcode and title information. Once we receive this information, a  digital barcode file will be immediately provided. Our agreement with  Bowker enables us to upload your publication title information to their  Books In Print database.

 

To speak with a customer service representative, please call 800-662-0701 x240 or you may place an order by clicking on the appropriate "Buy Package" button.

[http://www.isbn-us.com/ipporder.htm] 

On that basis, if I had no experience with CS, publishing, ISBNs, etc. sounds great.  Why would I look further?  Does it suggest looking deeper? No. I would presume I know what I need to know.  But, if I looked at the FAQ's, I would find:

I plan on selling my books through Createspace, which program should I choose?

 

 

Createspace is a Print-On-Demand (POD) service from Amazon. Their  system requires users to either have an ISBN assigned in their company's  name or use a Createspace assigned ISBN. Clients who purchase our

Personalized Publisher Program

can utilize their ISBN number on both the books which they sell direct  themselves as well as those which are sold via the Createspace/Amazon  marketplaces. Clients who have already purchased an ISBN through the

Independent Publisher Program

need to have Createspace assign a Createspace assigned ISBN for those publications to be offered on their service.

 

Note: ISBNs assigned from Createspace can not be used in any other  marketplace, so the ISBNs assigned from our service must be used. Since  POD services, such as Createspace, are geared for printing individual  books as they are sold, it is not economically feasible to use them to  print large quantities.

 

[http://www.isbn-us.com/isbnfaq.htm]

 

Now, and only now, would I be aware.  I think CS is, on this issue, much clearer:

You cannot use the ISBN with another publisher.

 

Barcode-us could have said, "Click on FAQs for more information if you are considering the Independent Publisher Program." Instead you get stuff like:

Aspiration: To Be The Next J.K Rowlings (Huge Author) . . . Sell To Major Chains Through Existing Publisher . . . Establish Publishing Company and Plan on Selling to Major Chains

On this (ISBNs and publishing services), I am still coming down on the we-take-advantage-of-you side . . .  

 

For the OP to print his book through barcode-us after spending $280 for ISBNs, with a 566% greater cost/book on orders of 10 (minimum order) strikes me, my opinion only, as pissing money down the toilet.

 

If the OP can work out an upgrade to the Personalized Publisher ISBN great (it sounds like it would work with CS), but he said barcode-us simply blew him off with a reference to the FAQs quoted above.  Yes, your advice to see if the company will do this is good.

 

Walton

 

Level 0 3 posts since
Feb 25, 2011
Currently Being Moderated
13. Jun 20, 2012 11:34 AM in response to: walton
Re: ISBN Buyers Remorse

What is the main draw back from just using the free CS ISBN number.

You can sell your book through Amazon.com, an eStore, and

all Expanded Distribution channels.

Level 5 6,015 posts since
Mar 10, 2012
Currently Being Moderated
14. Jun 20, 2012 11:43 AM in response to: TTT123
Re: ISBN Buyers Remorse

There are (arguably) a couple drawbacks as I see it.

 

1) You can not use the ISBN with any other printer. This can be important for some users that want to utilize both CS and LSI for example or wish to do an offset print run for a bulk order. By using your own ISBN (assuming the book is the same trim size etc) you can ensure that it is the same across the board.

 

2) The CreateSpace name is starting to be recognized as 'self published' and can have a negative effect if it is listed as your Imprint of Record. Many of us would rather have our own Imprint listed allowing us to build our own brand and not be tied to an organization that we have no control over.

 

R. C.

 

Upcoming Release - The Order
Preview - https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1100325
Trailer - http://youtu.be/To1IlV-9wCA

 

 

Fiction Formatting Templates

www.rcbutlerbooks.com

 

 

 

 

Actions

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...