An ISBN is a 13-digit number product identifier used by publishers, booksellers, libraries and internet retailers etc for ordering, listing, sales records and stock control purposes. The ISBN identifies the publisher and author as well as metadata for the title including: title, edition, format (e.g. print or ebook or both), availability, and pricing and ultimately how readers can purchase your book.
You will need an ISBN for each unique version of your book. For example, if you plan to release a hardback edition, soft bound edition or ebook edition, then you will have three unique versions of your book, hence three ISBNs will be required. If you are producing a one-off print only version or an ebook only version you will only require one ISBN.
The advantages of having ISBNs registered to your titles are:
- enables you to obtain Prepublication Data Services entry (registration) with the Australian National Library and inclusion in the Trove Catalogue
- ISBNs are the global standard for identifying titles
- ISBNs are used world-wide as a unique identifier for books. They are used to simplify distribution and purchase of books throughout the global supply chain.
- Most retailers require ISBNs to track book inventory
- Having an ISBN improves the chances your book will be found
- Having your ISBNs and registering your titles on My Identifiers, insures information about your book will be stored in the Books In Print database. This opens up a world of possibilities that your book is listed with many retailers, libraries, Bowker Books In Print, Bookwire, as well as online services like Google Books, Apple's iBooks, and many others!
Over 100 million people access this ISBN data when searching for books.