1. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    ISBNs and Publishing Imprimatur for Self-Publishers

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by JLT, Apr 18, 2016.

    I've gone through the archives and haven't found anything that specifically addresses this issue.

    Half the books I've read on self-publishing recommend that you take out a business license as a fictitious-name publishing house, and buy ISBNs under that name. The other half (usually the most recently published) tell me that's not necessary, as long as I can get an ISBN from CreateSpace or a similar group. What has been the experience of those who have gone either route? Is there a down-side to one route or the other that I'm not seeing?

    It looks like setting up my own "publishing house" and buying ISBNs from Bowker would end up costing hundreds of dollars, and I really don't want to do that if don't have to. But if it's the way to go, I'll go that way.
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    This will depend where you are - in the US people have to pay for ISBNs, but other places (like Canada) they're free. So the answer may be different depending on where you live.

    For me, in Canada, it was an easy decision to get my own ISBNs. One of the reasons I self-publish is because I want control over my book, so having someone else's name on the ISBN doesn't work for me.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You can get a free ISBN from CreateSpace, as a U.S. author, but that ISBN identifies CreateSpace as the imprint. Smashwords will also give you a free ISBN, but again it identifies Smashwords.
     
  4. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    Thanks for the comments. They brought up another question about ISBNs that just occurred to me. Assuming that I have ISBN under my own imprint which I supply to POD people (and it's worth it just to be able to type that phrase!) and e-book distributors, is there a problem with me contracting with both CreateSpace in the US and Lightning Source in the UK to have them supply POD books, or am I forced to have an exclusive arrangement with just one company. Neither seems to address that question on their web sites.

    From what I understand, it's quite common for people marketing e-books to have their books available from a number of different publishers, without going into exclusivity agreements. But I don't know if that holds true with POD printers. If anybody has experience with this, please enlighten me.
     
  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not quite sure about people having e-books available from a number of different publishers... do you mean different retailers? Like, Amazon and B&N and Apple? That's pretty common, yes, although Amazon pushes pretty hard to get exclusivity.

    In terms of both CreateSpace and Lightning Source - is there a reason you want to use both? I use CreateSpace, but my books with them are available (through Amazon) in the UK and EU as well as the US. It is possible to not check the box for Amazon Europe in the "Channels" section, which I suppose would mean you could use Lightning Source for the UK (I've never used Lightning Source so I can't confirm this would work with them, but I assume it would), but I'm not sure why you'd want to. It's a nuisance to set up and format your book ONCE - I can't imagine wanting to do it more than once!
     
  6. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    Thanks for responding. I wasn't clear if CreateSpace would take an order from someone in the UK, print it in America, and have it shipped to the customer at some cost, or whether they would have it printed on demand in the UK and then sent to the customer. (It ain't cheap to mail books to England, as I've found out.) Since Lightning Source is UK-based, I'm sure that their POD facility is also in the UK.
     
  7. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can use CreateSpace in the UK. The only downside is that if people buy directly from the CreateSpace website, the book ships from America. If they buy it through Amazon.co.uk, they use a British POD house (Lightning Source, in fact, IIRC) - but you get a bit less royalties for each copy, since they've bought through Amazon and Amazon take their cut.

    The main issue I found with having a CreateSpace ISBN as opposed to your own one is that you're limited to selling through Amazon. Or at least, that's what Past Me says I found when I wrote this thread:

    Fancy Watching Me Screw Up Self Publishing?

    Frankly it was all a while ago now, but it might be worth scanning through it if you haven't done so already. There's no sense in my fucking up if I can't serve as a warning to others.

    I went with a CreateSpace ISBN anyhow, since I'm in the UK so they'd cost a bomb to buy, and I figured if the book did well enough to merit buying my own ISBN then that'd be a nice problem to have. If I lived in @BayView's communist hippy utopia I would have got my own.
     
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  8. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    I don't believe that's true. I use my own ISBNs with Createspace, but I believe you can still enable expanded distribution with a Createspace ISBN.

    What some people have said is that physical bookstores may not order your books if they have a Createspace ISBN. But they probably won't order the books anyway, unless you're a well-known author. They'll probably still appear on online bookstores like B&N.

    But I sometimes suspect that buying my own books from Amazon.ca would be cheaper than getting them shipped from Createspace at the author price.
     
  9. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    No problem with that so far as I'm aware. They're a printer and distributor, not a publisher. As mentioned above, I believe Createspace actually contract out some of their expanded distribution channels to LSI.
     
  10. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    As I said, it was a while ago - but that's not quite what I meant. You can definitely use expanded distribution - I have, I've even sold a couple of copies through it. But if I remember correctly, if you're using a CreateSpace ISBN people have to order your book through CreateSpace/Amazon - you can't get a load printed at another POD shop and sell them yourself, or sell physical copies from your own website etc.
     
  11. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    I'm not sure about other countries, but, in America, Createspace books in 'expanded distribution' can be ordered through a big distributor just like any other. A book store just has to order them like the other books it sells, it doesn't have to go to Createspace directly.
     
  12. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    Possibly I'm wrong about that part. I think "you can't get a load printed at another POD shop and sell them yourself, or sell physical copies from your own website etc" still applies - though even with those restrictions I'd rather just use the free ISBN from CreateSpace than pay the stupid-money they ask for getting your own over here.
     

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