Publishing a book is a huge task, but in today’s date still it is less daunting than it was a decade ago. When I published my first book, I had limited resources and knowledge with no one to support me. Today, we have the huge bank of information about self publishing and traditional publishing, which can be great but also overwhelming. Oh, by the way, the book is Haunted. Read about it here
During the last few days I have been super busy trying to juggle between my job, getting the cover for my book ready, trying to find and work with a book designer, planning a promotion for my book and of course submitting paper that was long over due. As if this wasn’t enough, guess what I have to also apply for a ISBN.
I am not a big fan of vanity fair (no offence), and traditional publishing takes to much time. So when I decided to get published with Amazon, someone told me its good to get an ISBN. Well, I thought Amazon is giving it to me for free… why should I buy one? But then as I did more research it occurred to me that by taking ISBN from Amazon I will be giving them the distribution rights. I thought what’s the big deal, so they are distributing it for me. Great!
Please don’t take me wrong! Amazon is awesome and their customer service is exemplary. But as a writer its always good to hold all the rights to your book because you can’t see the future. Your book is your property, so keep the rights. As a writer, I just felt right own all rights. Also, It cannot be used with another publisher or self-publishing service.
Armed with this knowledge I decided to go for it and buy one. Take another guess, its not easy to just get it. Its like finding a needle in a haystack. Yes, there is only one ISBN provider in Australia (and in US) called Thorpe-Bowker Identifier Services. Its good to have a official provider, but as expected you feel like its rip off!
Firstly, although its based in Australia, they charge you in US dollar (blah!) and then they have this long list of things that you need to buy!
ISBN is fine, but then you have to register with the book registry so that when ever someone buys your book its get recorded in a database. This both would cost the author around 100 dollars. You may get your ISBN within a fortnight. I was still fine with that. Okay with the cost. Then they kind of push you to also buy the barcode. At this point, I had too much. I am like, seriously? Cant they just make it easy for the author? (From my experience, I know nothing is easy or anyone!).
To find out if I realllllly (no this is not a typo!) need this barcode, I reach out to my writing group and the KDP question and answer form. Guess what I don’t need to purchase a barcode, because even if I buy the ISBN, Amazon will provide my paperback with one for free! So yes, writer be warned. And yes, its good to have people who can answer your question and support you in situations like this.
Publishing is a business, and there are people out there who are always looking to take advantage. So arm yourself with knowledge. Also, be warned, as soon as I googled ‘how to get an ISBN’ several sites popped up. Writers are suggested not buy from them because its best not to. Although I may not like the way they operate Thorpe-Bowker Identifier Services, they are the official people to get it from. And honestly, I didn’t see any differences in the cost. Go with them I would say.
In a nutshell, authors need to learn to be savvy because in today’s date not only we need to write, but also learn about publishing and distribution. Publishing is a business which is changing all the time, its good to always to stay on top of it. And thanks to technology, we have ample support 🙂
A bit about me! 🙂
H.G Ahedi holds a PhD in biomedical sciences and is a fictional writer. Haunted is her second book. She spends a lot of time writing and when she is bored of her desk; she wants to hop on a plane and travel the world. As that is not always possible she explores local Sydney beaches and parks and enjoys a nice cup of coffee.