A unique ISBN bar code is necessary for your eBook so retailers can identify your eBook in the digital marketplace and report sales accordingly.

The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique 13-digit code assigned to your book to identify it amongst all the others in the digital marketplace.

Retailers use these codes to track and report sales. Every book — physical or eBook — is required to have its own number if it’s made available for sale.In fact: If you’ve already published your book in physical form, you’ll need another ISBN for the electronic version.

R.R. Bowker is the official agency in charge of assigning and maintaining these numbers in the US. For other countries you can find your local agency here: http://isbn-international.org/faqs/view/17.

Publishers and authors can buy blocks of their own numbers.

A self-published author can buy just one ISBN for $125.

BookBaby offers ISBN for $29.


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About BookBaby

BookBaby has written 219 posts in this blog.

BookBaby makes self-publishing easy: From book printing, eBooks, distribution, cover design, and now editing. Since 2011, we’ve helped thousands realize their publishing goals, backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. BookBaby creates and distributes your printed books and eBooks to the largest distribution network, including Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other popular retailers worldwide.

10 thoughts on “What is an ISBN and Why Does My eBook Need One?

  1. Klausss says:

    Hey there bookbaby,
    a ISBN number for eBooks is not necessary for eBooks if I only want to publish on e.g. Amazon KDP, right?!

    1. Niky says:

      hy,I have the same problem.I want also to publish a kindle book.what is the difference anyway between kindle and e-book?1if i want to publish on both forms?
      by the way…what is about the publishing rights for a kindle book?

  2. abbas rajan says:

    Hi I’d like to know from u of how do I create an eBook on amazon as my novel is been written on a book and not on my laptop how do I start the procedure? thank u

  3. Christiana says:

    I was told that if I buy the ISBN number from you that you would be listed as the official publisher of the book. Does this give you any claim or part-ownership over the book if you are listed as the publisher? I’m just wondering what control you would hold over the book if you were known as the publisher.

    1. BookBaby BookBaby says:

      Yes, Christiana, that is correct. If you purchase your ISBN from us, BookBaby will be listed as the official publisher of the book. What does it mean? Absolutely nothing. It’s your book – not ours! In our Terms of Service, we make it very clear that BookBaby holds no rights to any book published through us. And that extends to the ISBNs that we resell to our authors. The author or book owner retains all control and rights.

      1. Arin says:

        Sorry, BookBaby, but the ISBN is free.

        1. Debbie says:

          can you explain that Arin? and from where?

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