An ISBN is required to put your book into distribution (which is required to sell the print edition of your book). Both KDP and IngramSpark require we provide ISBN # at the time of title setup. Snowfall Press does not require an ISBN, which is why we commonly use them for ARCs.
You have a few options when it comes to ISBN. Keep in mind that an ISBN is a number the is registered with Bowker, who assigns all the ISBNs to US publishers. It is basically a number used to catalog titles in print. You do not need an ISBN for eBooks, and once an ISBN # is assigned to a title, it can’t be changed.
We also need an ISBN # to register your book with the Library of Congress.
RECOMMENDED. We assign you one of our ISBNs. You can use it with KDP (for sale on Amazon) & IngramSpark (for inclusion in the Ingram catalog), or any other printer/distributor you choose to use in the future. Our cost is lower because we purchased our ISBNs from Bowker in bulk. We'll also create a webpage for your book (see sample).
We provide this option to allow our clients to avoid having to pay the fee that Bowker charges for an ISBN and so that you can set up your title at both KDP and IngramSpark for worldwide distribution.
We provide ISBN #’s as a convenience to our customers but retain no rights to your work, and you are not obligated in anyway to use the ISBN # we assign to you. Although Wise Media Group is listed as the publisher to the ISBN # assigned to your title(s), no rights or privileges to your work are released. You will continue to retain all rights and privileges. The ISBN only exists for purposes of cataloging your title and has no bearing on copyright.
The additional fee we charge for ISBNs cover the labor to setup your title metadata in the Bowker database so it is available for discovery at bookwire.com and in the Bowker’s Books-in-Print discovery tool provided to libraries and retailers.
If you would like to create your own imprint, we need to know what name you want to use before we setup your title in the Bowker database.
You can select your own imprint if you go with one of our ISBNs. It will be registered with Bowker and reflected on Amazon and Bookwire.com:
If you want your own imprint, you will need to select a name for your publishing company that we will need to register with Bowker BEFORE setting up your print-on-demand for sale. Once a publisher name is assigned, it can’t be changed. You can use your own name, or create a fictitious publishing company (which does not need to be registered anywhere as an official business). If you don’t have any preference, I would suggest just leaving it listed as Wise Media Group. The benefit is that it will look like a traditionally published book.
Using one our ISBNs or one of your own is very important if you ever plan to setup your title with another printer (besides KDP). This becomes a factor if you plan to sell books outside of Amazon.com. Amazon’s distribution option limits the discount to other retailers to 25% (they give amazon 40%). Most retailers (and libraries) will not purchase books unless they get at least a 40% discount. I go into this issue in greater detail here.
NOT RECOMMENDED. Yes, you can use one of the ISBNs that KDP assigns to you. But bear in mind that the publisher will be listed with KDP and exposes that your book is 'self-published' to other retailer. The reason I don’t recommend you go with the ISBN they assign you is because you can’t use it with IngramSpark – and without being setup with IngramSpark, your distribution will be limited to Amazon only. If you decide later to set it up at IngramSpark, you'll end up having two ISBNs which can confuse the marketplace.
This creates a problem if you elect to setup your title with IngramSpark in the future, which you will most likely want to do. Because KDP will not release the ISBN to you, you end up having two ISBNs assigned to the same title. The result is that one title on Amazon will have reviews, and the other might not. Even worse, your reviews may get split up amongst two listings on Amazon.
Most expensive option. You purchase and provide your own. You have the option to purchase your own through Bowker. I don’t usually recommend this because it’s cost prohibitive if you only need one and we can assign you one for less. But if you do buy your ISBNs from Bowker, don't buy any of the upsells they hit you with (i.e. barcodes) - you only need the ISBN #'s and everything else they offer isn't required. Also, if you are working with us, I still recommend you have us setup the metadata of your ISBN for optimal visibility.