The ISBN Dilemma … Should Authors Buy Their Own?

WOWSA! Such a deal … buy your ISBN for only ten bucks … who wants to pay $125? The real questions are: are they legit ISBNs? Or, are they knockoffs? Or, are they a re-sale? And if they are a resale, are they being sold by an approved resale outlet? Are they legit … or are they fake? What’s an author to do?

All authors need to understand this: ISBNs are ONLY ISSUED by Bowker … it doesn’t matter what name you get them through. And in fact, it may be a giant hiccup if you take this route. Bowker has the exclusive distribution rights in the United States … other companies have them in other parts of the world. Here’s what and others like it do: they purchase a bank of ISBNS… you too, can buy 1000 for $1000 or $1 an ISBN (now, that’s a deal)—where single ones are sold for $125 via Bowker, 10 for $250, 100 for $500 and 1,000 for $1,000, etc.

Anyone can buy and then repackage and sell them as singles or multiples at, say $10 vs. the single direct purchase from Bowker for $125. If you are crunching numbers, $10 sounds better than $125—but is it? Supposedly, they have a ‘channel’ arrangement with Bowker to do that. You think—’WOW—such a deal.’ Maybe. Maybe not. And yep, that means you could buy them and resell to your friends and maybe as a ‘side business’ as well. Hmmm, 1,000 for $1,000—resell for $10 each … what a rate of return!

They are making 10 times on their money—not a bad ROI for sure! … and get this: all those ISBNs are really listed as them—whoever sells them to you and originally purchased them—as the publisher … you see, Amazon’s CreateSpace still owns them, as does IngramSpark or ANY other company that you use THEIRS and you don’t PERSONALLY buy them yourself. Understand this. When you buy from others, they ‘resell’ to you but DO NOT transfer ownership to you as the publisher.”

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