What Is An ISBN? Does My Book Need One?

March 22, 2022 2:08 pm

Does your book need an ISBN? If you plan to sell publicly, then the simple answer is YES! This article will break down exactly what an ISBN is and whether you need one.

What is an ISBN?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and was first introduced in 1970. Various products have them, with books our main focus today. If the product sells publicly, then it needs to be uniquely identified with an ISBN, in the form of a 13-digit number.

Purpose of an ISBN?

ISBN’s have two main purposes:

  1. The ability to sell your books to the public. Therefore, they are needed if you intend to make money from your work. Vital for Self-published authors!
  2. Improving searchability of your book. We love that there are so many books to choose from, but it does make some hard to find. With an ISBN, readers can easily search the unique number to find your book, and your book only. Don’t believe us? Head over to this ISBN search site and try for yourself. Just pick up any book around your house and type in the number.

What’s in an ISBN?

  • Book Code Digits: The first three digits 978 indicate the whole number is part of an ISBN.
  • Language of the Book: The English language is identified with an “0” or “1”.
  • Publisher
  • Book title, Edition, and Format: Six-digits represent the title of the book.
  • Check Digit:“0” is. the last digit and is known as the “check digit”. This number is mathematically calculated as a fixed, single digit.

Is one enough?

If you are selling your book only as a hardback for example, then you will only need one ISBN. However, if you sell through multiple variations, then you will need one ISBN for each variation.

Variations include the likes of Paperback, Hardback, Booklet and more. Again, this ensures that your readers will find a copy of your book, as well as the exact variation.

Do I need a new ISBN if I edit my book?

Yes… And no. If your edits consist of line edits and correcting typographical errors, then you will not need a new ISBN as this is considered a reprint.

However, if you make substantial changes/additions to your work, then you will need a new ISBN. This is because the changes would be considered as a ‘new book’.

When it comes to book covers and their designs, you are free to alter them until your heart’s content. Book titles and subtitles will however require a new ISBN if altered.

Take a seat. We’ve got it covered

You may be thinking, ‘it sounds like a lot of work to get an ISBN’. Truthfully, it is additional work. But, we’ve got you covered.

As part of our many services, we also offer purchasable ISBN’s. This takes the time and stress out of sourcing one for yourself. All that’s required is adding a little tick on your book quotation as both book and ISBN can be ordered at the same time.

The ISBN will then be added to the cover of your newly printed books, ready to be sold publicly. As part of the service, you will also gain a unique barcode which can be scanned by any barcode scanner. If interested, then please check out the link at the bottom of the page.

We hope you now understand ISBN’s, and we look forward to supplying many more of them on your printed books.

Book Printing UK

Get an ISBN from us!