Author Topic: Free ISBN vs. purchased  (Read 256 times)  

Offline sskkoo1

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Free ISBN vs. purchased
« on: January 17, 2018, 05:56:54 AM »
Hey, Everyone

I was just wondering if anyone has a good grasp on this topic. I've heard for a while now that you lose an awful lot of control over your book and the proceeds when you choose to accept a free ISBN# from Createspace or KDP. If this is true, what exactly do you lose (How much of your book's soul are you selling to the Devil)? And, what are the benefits of forking over the cash to purchase a ISBN# for your book.

Thanks. I'll hang up and listen.


Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Free ISBN vs. purchased
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2018, 06:30:52 AM »
All an ISBN is is the equivalent of a social security number for a specific volume of a book. It has NOTHING to do with control of the book, copyright, or anything else. It is simply an identifier for a specific volume. it helps retailers differentiate between different versions of the same book (hardcover, trade paperback, mass market, ebook, etc) and between books with similar titles.

If you use a free ISBN, the ISBN number belongs to the company that provides it. That just means you can't use that number elsewhere. If you buy your own numbers, you can use the same number with different printers (so long as it is the same version.) For example, I own a lot of ISBNS. I can use the same number with both the Ingram trade paperback and the Amazon trade paperback, because they are the same format, size, page count. If I decided to get copies printed with a local printer, I can use that ISBN because I own it.

If I have a Createspace ISBN and want to set up with Ingram, I can't use Createspace's ISBN because it does not belong to me. But I can use a different ISBN that I own.

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Offline Rick Gualtieri

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Re: Free ISBN vs. purchased
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2018, 08:07:07 AM »
What Julie said. If you're primarily selling on Amazon (or are fine with Createspace's extended sales channels), having a CS ISBN won't hurt you at all.

It only matters if you're going wider than that, such as Ingram, since you'll need it there.


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Offline sskkoo1

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Re: Free ISBN vs. purchased
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2018, 09:14:33 AM »
All an ISBN is is the equivalent of a social security number for a specific volume of a book. It has NOTHING to do with control of the book, copyright, or anything else. It is simply an identifier for a specific volume. it helps retailers differentiate between different versions of the same book (hardcover, trade paperback, mass market, ebook, etc) and between books with similar titles.

If you use a free ISBN, the ISBN number belongs to the company that provides it. That just means you can't use that number elsewhere. If you buy your own numbers, you can use the same number with different printers (so long as it is the same version.) For example, I own a lot of ISBNS. I can use the same number with both the Ingram trade paperback and the Amazon trade paperback, because they are the same format, size, page count. If I decided to get copies printed with a local printer, I can use that ISBN because I own it.

If I have a Createspace ISBN and want to set up with Ingram, I can't use Createspace's ISBN because it does not belong to me. But I can use a different ISBN that I own.

Thanks.    Follow up question: If you have a Createspace free ISBN and decided to go wide at a later time, can you purchase your own ISBN and then tell Createspace to take theirs back so that your book can now be under the ISBN you own, or is it too late?


Offline Rick Gualtieri

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Re: Free ISBN vs. purchased
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2018, 09:23:14 AM »
Thanks.    Follow up question: If you have a Createspace free ISBN and decided to go wide at a later time, can you purchase your own ISBN and then tell Createspace to take theirs back so that your book can now be under the ISBN you own, or is it too late?

I've done this. What you'll need to do is have Createspace retire the original edition of your book, and then create a new version with the new ISBN.


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Offline Muyassar Sattarova

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Re: Free ISBN vs. purchased
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2018, 09:33:33 AM »
I always use free ISBN, but it just shows that I am the author!

Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Free ISBN vs. purchased
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2018, 09:48:36 AM »
I've done this. What you'll need to do is have Createspace retire the original edition of your book, and then create a new version with the new ISBN.

To clarify Rick's point: while an edition of a book can be retired, you can't "take back" and ISBN. That number will remain assigned to the book title for all of eternity, because, again, like a social security number, they don't get recycled. That number will be used in the future, for example, to identify old or used versions of your book. it won't be available for sale as new, but any existing copies floating out there will still be using it.

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