What is an ISBN?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. Every book that is sold has a unique number known as an ISBN to help book purchasers identify it.  It is like a social security number for your book.

Books published as of January 1, 2007 have ISBNs that are 13 digits long. Prior to 2007, ISBNs were 10 digits long. While it is not necessary for all books to display an ISBN, most book stores only carry ISBN-bearing merchandise, so it is very important that your book has a printed ISBN.

While there is a method to how the ISBN is determined, it may not be necessary for every self-publishing author to understand this process. What is important to know is how to get an ISBN for your book. The exact steps vary depending on your publisher of choice, but sometimes the ISBN is simply included in your self publishing package. Check with your publishing company before you start publishing to make sure your book will have its own ISBN and that they will handle the details of this for you.  After all, that is a benefit of using a full-service self-publishing company!

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press.  In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

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