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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Somebody just told me that if you want libraries to be able to access your book, it needs an ISBN.
That sounds like a half-truth to me.  Anyone have more insight?
 

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If you mean physical book, it's going to get an ISBN, but that could be a Createspace one.

If you mean ebooks, for public libraries, it needs to get into Overdrive. The ISBN is the least of your worries there from what I've heard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This person did not specify whether they meant physical or ebook.  :-\
Sorry to be so vague -- this is from a comment on another forum.
 

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If it's where I think, I would take anything they say with a grain of salt, but then I'm the one who started the thread and I'm an ignorant peon who doesn't understand anything because I know nothing of real publishing. Well, other than working for most of the 90s doing page layout for a small academic publisher, but they don't seem to know about that. :D

For ebooks, there's an interesting discussion here that has some people who have gotten accepted talking about what's involved.

Getting in with a physical book is going to be up to the library system. I was just nagging our director this morning to buy Wool and she'll get it direct from Amazon if she has to. The hard part is getting them interested. Most tend to buy best selling books, ones they see reviews of in trade publications, and so on--all venues that are hard for indies to access period. So unless someone requests the book or they happen to be a fan of our genre, they'll never know about it. Createspace or Lulu provide print books with an ISBN under their imprint and some libraries may discriminate against books that hold that imprint, but probably not if they're best sellers otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the link, Katie :)

I see so much strange information about ISBNs.  Some people seem to think that it's part of copyright.  That you dont have copyright over the book unless you buy an ISBN  :-\

 
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You need an ISBN to get into libraries because the services that provide ebooks to libraries require it, not because the libraries do. Libraries generally have relied more on the Library of Congress control number than the ISBN number. But the systems that are used to operate digital lending programs use the ISBN number to track the books.
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
You need an ISBN to get into libraries because the services that provide ebooks to libraries require it, not because the libraries do. Libraries generally have relied more on the Library of Congress control number than the ISBN number. But the systems that are used to operate digital lending programs use the ISBN number to track the books.
I wondered about that. In "the old days" we got LCCNs for our print books, but I just read that ebooks are not eligible for LCCNs even if their print counterpart has one.

It totally makes sense that the lending systems would drive the need for an ISBN instead. That takes us back into distribution, where the ISBN is king.
 

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With print books some libraries are set up to order only from certain distributors (Ingram, Baker & Taylor) and/or require that your book be reviewed in a major publication. My local library finally acquired The Farewell Season after it was reviewed in ALAN review. Other libraries didn't require a review. You just never know.
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
You need an ISBN to get into libraries because the services that provide ebooks to libraries require it, not because the libraries do. Libraries generally have relied more on the Library of Congress control number than the ISBN number. But the systems that are used to operate digital lending programs use the ISBN number to track the books.
I figured it would be something Overdrive etc would require. But it's different to say "you will need an ISBN to submit a book to Overdrive" and "if you have an ISBN, libraries will be able to get your ebooks."

For some reason, Createspace will only distribute to libraries if you use a Createspace ISBN.
I'm wondering what counts as a Create-Space Assigned ISBN. Does that mean naming them as publisher or does it include the two options $10/name you as imprint, them as publisher and $99/Createspace purchased assigned to you.

And of course, libraries can order from places other than Baker and Taylor. Most indies, I'd guess, would be picked up from patron requests not as part of normal acquisitions. As I said, when I mentioned Wool to our librarian, she was simply going to pick it up from Amazon.
 
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Katie Elle said:
And of course, libraries can order from places other than Baker and Taylor. Most indies, I'd guess, would be picked up from patron requests not as part of normal acquisitions. As I said, when I mentioned Wool to our librarian, she was simply going to pick it up from Amazon.
The size of the library, and the amount of funding it gets from government sources, can dictate the amount of freedom a librarian has to make decisions. A small library funded almost exclusively through patron donations, for example, will often have more flexibility than a library that is part of a large metropolitan system. The more government funding, or the bigger the library, the more likely there are stricter stipulations regarding where a book can be purchased.

Heck a lot of libraries don't even accept donations of physical books. Usually, if you donate books to a library, they will get sold during a fundraiser. This is because it times time and resources to catalog and store each book, and you need to reserve shelf space for what the patrons actually want. I had a conversation years ago with a librarian in my area who told me that if they actually stocked all of the books that were donated, the only books they would have on the shelves would be bodice rippers, local histories, and Christian fiction and they wouldn't have room for anything else. :eek: ;D

And in the case of ebooks, they legally MUST be bought from an actually distributor. Because with digital content, you do not "own" the book like you do with a print product. You effectively own a license to use the product. You can't buy an ebook off of Amazon to add to the library's digital library, because the license is for the end user.
 
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