Book update & bar code how to

April 24, 2009

Since everything is going so swimmingly with the production of the book, I’ve set up an ISBN number and bar code.

Now before I go any further, let me state that this is not a requirement for printing the book, but it is a personal preference. When I began this project, I embarked on it as a learning experience and as such, will fulfill all steps of a traditional bookmaking process (except for the substitution of a POD, print-on-demand, publisher). I want to learn as much as I can, so I figured someone somewhere may appreciate me sharing what I’ve learned along the way.

There are advantages to having a unique identification code, including the ability to streamline sales in bookstores and online retailers.

Now what exactly is an ISBN? ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number, like a social security number for all your bound creations. It identifies the country of origin, publisher and title of a specific book.

In my research I’ve learned that R.R. Bowker, LLC. is the only authorized agent to assign ISBN numbers in the United States. Other sites are available promising a good deal, but most of these are sketchy since they are often reselling digits already assigned to other authors.

To begin the process through Bowker, you must first decide if you want a block of digits (for multiple titles if you’re an author cranking out a lot of books) or a single ISBN.

Once you’ve got that decided, visit this site and make your selection:
http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/isbn/us/secureapp.asp

I opted to purchase a single ISBN with a bar code (it can also be ordered without the bar code for a discounted price). Links took me to myidentifiers.com, a Bowker division.

I set up an account there and logged in, made my selection and gave some credit info and viola! I had an ISBN. I officially exist as an author.

After that was out of the way, I spent some time inputting all the book details and configuring the bar code. Oh! And in other news, my Photoshop went kaboom… so part of the afternoon was spent tracking down an available computer with PS. Another day in the exciting world of book production. (Thank you! You know who you are.)

It was a first for me, so if you’re still reading, hopefully you got something out of it too. By the way, I’m 978-0-615-29412-4. Tell the world.

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2 Responses to “Book update & bar code how to”

  1. Emmy Says:

    I’m going to have to point Christa to this post because she asked me about this and I didn’t know the answer. I used Bowker in my previous job, but we already owned a lot of ISBN’s and I just used it to attach them to their titles. I can’t wait until the book is printed! I’m ready to buy a copy and get it autographed 😉

  2. Renee Says:

    Congrats! I think you might be able to list a pre-order kind of page for your book on Amazon once you have an ISBN.

    I too am ready to buy an autographed copy! 🙂


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