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8,768 Views 11 Replies Last post: Nov 21, 2009 11:18 PM by lipmag RSS
Level 1 261 posts since
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Nov 21, 2009 7:31 AM

Can I bring my own ISBN?

Does Createspace allow me to bring my own ISBN as a small publisher?
Level 3 528 posts since
Oct 12, 2008
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1. Nov 21, 2009 9:34 AM in response to: tigerlily
Re: Can I bring my own ISBN?

Yes. They check your publisher prefix with Bowker, but not individual ISBNs.

 

Perry Donham

KidPub Press

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3. Nov 21, 2009 2:28 PM in response to: tigerlily
Re: Can I bring my own ISBN?

YES! Absolutely-- that is what you should do, anyway! Don't use CreateSpace's "free" ISBN. It's so much better if you own the ISBN yourself and list your own publishing company as the owner and publisher of the product. ISBNs are so cheap-- especially if you buy 10 or 100. It's just not worth using CreateSpace's ISBN just to save 30 bucks.

 

Christy Pinheiro

PassKey Publications

Author of: The Step By Step Guide to Self-Publishing for Profit

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4. Nov 21, 2009 3:42 PM in response to: Tax_Writer
Re: Can I bring my own ISBN?
This point I'll argue over slightly. Yes, it's better to have your own ISBN but if you can't afford $125 for one then CS's free ISBN and some people's only option. Sure the group lot price for 10 ISBNs is a deal but for some author's it is not a practical expense. Especially until they see if they can make a go on Amazon.
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5. Nov 21, 2009 4:10 PM in response to: Sierra
Re: Can I bring my own ISBN?

I seriously think that using CreateSpace's ISBN is a HUGE mistake. A group of 10 ISBN numbers costs about $300 from Bowker. That's about $30 each. That's nothing-- less than the cost of a classified ad.

 

This is how self-published authors get branded as "amateurs".

 

If you use CreateSpace's ISBN:

 

1. The listing will say "CreateSpace" as the publisher-- instantly everyone will know that it's a self-published book

2. CreateSpace OWNS your ISBN. If the book is a hit-- and, let's say, gets picked up by a traditional publisher-- what are you going to do then?

3. What if you want overseas distribution? Or LightningSource distribution? Sorry. The ISBN doesn't belong to you.

4. Lastly, if you don't have at least a few hundred dollars to dedicate to your own publishing company, this is probably not the best way to go. Considering that some self-published authors spend thousands and thousands using offset printers, or paying vanity publishers, I think that estimating at least $1,000 in expenses for a book is an extremely low investment.

 

The marketing, editing, cover design (if any), advertising, and review copies alone should cost at least $500. If you aren't prepared to invest a little bit of money, it's very unlikely that your book is going to succeed.

 

This is not to discourage anyone. I made a LOT of mistakes when I was starting out. In 2006, I made no money publishing-- I lost money. But I learned from my mistakes, and I saved up my money so I could invest in my publishing company and do it right. Now I write full time, and I quit my day job. I just think that if you are going to try and make a living at this, you have to start with your best foot forward.

 

Christy Pinheiro

PassKey Publications

Author of: The Step By Step Guide To Self-Publishing for Profit

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7. Nov 21, 2009 5:13 PM in response to: Tax_Writer
Re: Can I bring my own ISBN?

Tax_Writer wrote:

 

2. CreateSpace OWNS your ISBN. If the book is a hit-- and, let's say, gets picked up by a traditional publisher-- what are you going to do then?

 

You can do whatever you like. CS may own the ISBN, but they don't own any rights to your book - just a non-exclusive licence to print and distribute it. You can terminate this arrangement at any time, CS will stop printing your book, and you can take your manuscript to the traditional publisher who will then apply a new ISBN to the book (which they own - even if you buy your own ISBN, they will still slap their ISBN on your book if you can strike a publishing deal with them). I don't see the disadvantage here.

 

A CS branded ISBN will identify your book as self-published, but for the most part, readers who have never heard of CS will not make that association. They will, however, be able to tell your book is self-pubbed if you don't make your book look as professionally produced as possible. I think most readers would rather you spend the money on editing, typesetting and cover design, than give a rats' **** about who owns your ISBN.

Level 5 11,780 posts since
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9. Nov 21, 2009 6:00 PM in response to: tigerlily
Re: Can I bring my own ISBN?

I had another para in my previous post, but deleted it before posting. Basically it depends on your individual business model and long-term goals.

 

Booksellers will notice and care if your book is self-published, but as I said, it's not only the ISBN and publisher name that's going to give the game away. Of course, you do need your own ISBN if you want access to LS etc. However, if you are happy with Amazon sales and selling at fairs and out of the back of your car, then it's not going to matter where you get your ISBN.


Traditional publishers are a different story. It's not often they pick up a self-pubbed book, and when they do it is more often related to the author platform - not sales history. The ISBN in this regard is a non-issue. If your self-pubbed book gets picked up by a trad publisher, they are going to slap their own ISBN on it anyway.

 

The other reason they pick up self-pubbed authors is because you've proven you can sell your first book, and they want to pick up your second or third book. So the first book needs to be professionally produced from the reader's point of view (and from the bookseller's view if you can afford to put in the extra effort). But if you only have one book in you, then you might be going about this the wrong way.

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10. Nov 21, 2009 10:14 PM in response to: lipmag
Re: Can I bring my own ISBN?

Michelle-- your website is fantastic! Super professional.

 

I just thought I would let you know.

 

Christy Pinheiro

PassKey Publications

Level 5 11,780 posts since
May 4, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
11. Nov 21, 2009 11:18 PM in response to: Tax_Writer
Re: Can I bring my own ISBN?
Thank you Christy! Are you referring to the lip magazine site, or the Odyssey Books site?

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