Beginner’s Guide to ISBNs

You’re merrily chugging along, uploading your book into KDP Print, and then you see this screen:

“Whoa,” you say. “This is getting real.” ISBNs are on real books for real authors, and here you are not deciding whether or not you want one, but what kind you’re going to get

A lot of authors just go with the free Amazon ISBN because it’s easiest. For a lot of those authors, it’s a decision that doesn’t leave enough money on the table for them to be wrong. But your best bet is to understand ISBNs as completely as possible, so you can make an informed decision about what your writing and career need. 

But First, This…

If you plan to publish e-book only, or you don’t plan to make print copies for a year or more from now, go ahead and skip this article. Only print books need an ISBN. Go focus on making your e-book empire shine like the sun, and come back to this when you think it’s time to expand into print. 

Okay, Then. What’s an ISBN?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It’s like a social security number for your book, and helps bookstores and libraries manage inventory and track sales trends.