Do you know if you need one yet?

An ISBN for your book?

This question pops up again and again.

Free vs Purchased? Which is better?

Image source

I know authors who use both. The answer is a personal one and each #writer must decide what fits the goal for their book. But whatever you do, don’t take the decision lightly.

I purchased my ISBN from Bowker and published through both IngramSpark and Createspace.

Here is why:

  • I wanted hard copies, not just ebooks.
  • A purchased ISBN belongs to me. Giving me all publishing rights and control.
  • Allows me to publish under my imprint. (Second Act Press, not Amazon or Createspace.)
  • My books are available to my local library through the IngramSpark catalog. (Love seeing them there.)
  • Brick and mortar stores can order them. (One-day fingers crossed.)

But, I did not purchase an ISBN for the ebook version.

Here is why:

  • It is my understanding that ebooks use an ASIN which is provided by KDP free.  (Y’all correct me if I’m wrong on this.)
  • The ebook distribution does best through Kindle  (In my humble opinion.)

Virginia Anderson goes into a great more detail about the ins and outs of ISBNs in a recent blog post. So, head over and read her article before you decide to buy or not buy one for your book.

Help! Do I Really NEED an ISBN? by VS Anderson

Have you decided what you need for your book?

Did you buy an ISBN or use a free one?

Did you use a publishing service to handle this?

Did you find the process complicated?

Will you do it differently next time? How?


Waiting on your comments, please leave me one. 

And don’t forget to go over and “like” my Facebook page at Facebook at jeanswriting . Or to connect with me, click the “write me” tab. Don’t forget you can follow me on StumbleUpon,  on Twitter @jeancogdell , and

Please stop by and say “hey!”  I’ll leave a light on. 


9 thoughts on “Do you know if you need one yet?

  1. I agree with Virginia Anderson. When I self-published a memoir nearly ten years ago, there were no eBooks and I got my own ISBN to publish through Lulu. When they made it possible to convert to digital, I got new ISBNs for the digital editions available through Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, etc. Now, I have a short story collection coming out on Kindle Select July 10th. I bit the bullet and went with the 90-day exclusive of KDP Select and their free ISBN. Interestingly, they still did offer the ability to list my own publishing company as the publisher–for whatever that’s worth. I am hopeful that when I go wide after the 90 days are up, that I can buy an ISBN for the eBook that will then be available everywhere. At about 25,000 words, I don’t see a point in doing print/POD.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.