1. SapereAude

    SapereAude Member

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    ISBN Update

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by SapereAude, Feb 18, 2021.

    Being new to the process of self-publishing, I am still trying to understand the nuances of ISBNs. Some sources say they are not required for e-books; some sources say they are "suggested" for e-books; some sources say that one ISBN can be used for both .MOBI and .EPUB versions of the same book; and other sources have indicated that each e-book edition should have a unique ISBN. Color me confused.

    Recently I was reading the free weekly newspaper that covers my town and I noticed a brief column by the director of the local library. (As an aside, does anyone know when "librarian" became "library director"?). With nothing to lose, I decided to send him an e-mail and ask if he could tell me anything about e-books and ISBNs. He responded very promptly, and what he had to say made me glad that I did assign ISBNs to the Kindle and Nook versions of the book I recently released.

    Rather than try to paraphrase his words, I'll just paste in his response:

    Thanks for reaching out. We definitely use ISBNs in our cataloging process, as do, I think, all other libraries. It's the best way to distinguish between different titles and different editions of the same title. However, we also catalog plenty of things that don't have ISBN's, like DVDs and CDs.

    We also offer e-books, but, as they are all accessed through third-party vendors, we don't' have anything to do with the cataloging of them. It is true that e-books don't necessarily need to have ISBNs in the same way print books do. However, Overdrive, the major supplier of e-books to (public) libraries, does require ISBNs for any e-book they sell. So that may be something to consider.​

    I then asked, "How/where is an ISBN attached or displayed or associated with an e-book?"

    Frankly, I'm not actually sure of the process. But we would see the ISBN in the ebook store, and then it would get transferred to our catalog when we purchase it. It would be in the text of the ebook too.​

    For me, the take-away is that libraries run on ISBNs. I think if I want to have any hope of getting an e-book version of something into library distribution, if the major supplier of e-books to libraries requires ISBNs -- I'll use ISBNs.
     
    Catrin Lewis likes this.
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Overdrive assign a free isbn to any book uploaded to them without one.. although free ISBNs are bad idea for print books since they look amateur to bookshop, libraries using overdrive don't really care

    so you absolutely don't have to assign an ISBN to Ebooks even if you want to get them into library system
     
  3. SapereAude

    SapereAude Member

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    How do books get uploaded to Overdrive? Can self-publishers upload their own books?
     
  4. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    you can do it through draft to digital and other such services, however Overdrive are owned by Kobo's parent company rakuten, so if you are direct with kobo you can upload to overdrive via them.
     
  5. SapereAude

    SapereAude Member

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    My e-book was published through Amazon for Kindle and through Barnes & Noble Press for Nook. Is it possible for me to get one or both of those onto Overdrive?
     
  6. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    no - you need to publishh via either an agregator or kobo... however nook is just an epub so there is nothing stopping you loading that file to either

    https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/p/writinglife

    https://www.draft2digital.com/

    if you use an agregator make sure you untick the boxes for amazon and B&N so you don't dupicate
     
  7. SapereAude

    SapereAude Member

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    ^^^ I wasn't aware of Draft2Digital but I've been looking at their web site and it looks promising. Thanks for the heads-up.

    It leads to a question -- actually, a couple of questions. First, if I released the EPUB version through Barnes & Noble Print, the conversion to EPUB was done on-line through B&N. Is there a way for me to get a copy of the actual EPUB file, other than buying my own book from B&N?

    The ISBN for the print version is mine, purchased from Bowker. Is there a way to list the print version (which was produced through Amazon KDP) with Draft2Digital?

    I may do the next book through Draft2Digital. It looks like it offers several advantages over KDP.
     
  8. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    personally i would go direct with amazon and kobo since you cannot use their marketing services if you go through an agregator, then use D2D for the others

    personally i use vellum for formatting my epubs for the various outlets so i don't know the answer to whether you can download the epub from B&N, i do know that you can if you wish format a word file into a epub through draft to digital and then download the file to use on those markets you wish to go to direct... i was no overly impressed by their formatting, but this was a while ago so it may have improved
     
  9. SapereAude

    SapereAude Member

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    Well, now you have me even more confused than ever. How does one publish through Amazon and then use D2D to reach other markets?

    If I don't have copies of the actual Kindle and Nook files as they are being sold on the Amazon and B&N sites, then isn't any EPUB or MOBI file I generate a different "version" of the book -- requiring a different ISBN? I know you don't need ISBNs to sell the books through Amazon but, as I learned and commented in opening this discussion, you DO need an ISBN if you want to have the e-book picked up by libraries. I assigned ISBNs to both my Amazon and B&N versions.
     
  10. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    You upload direct to KDP and to Kobo writing life... (and B&N if you want to) then you set up a d2d account and select all those markets where you havent uploaded directly.

    The chances of a library picking up your book for KDP or B&N direct are effectively nil - you get into libraries via Overdrive (and to an extent Bibliotecha who you can also access via D"D and over similar agregators)

    ISBNs - theres no need to assign an isbn to an ebook... however if you want to you assign one per edition so unless you change the actual content substantially you can use a single isbn for all your ebooks regardless of which market they are on.

    when you publish a print book you need a different isbn from your ebook (if you used one there) but assuming its your own bought from bowker you can assign the same isbn to both print books via ingram spark and print books via kdp print (don't tick extended distribution on Kdp print if you are also using ingram)

    If you use a free amazon ISBN on KDP print you can't use that isbn anywhere else
     

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