Successful Self-Publishing —Assignment #7

Copyrights and registrations for your book.


As you may already know, ISBNs are the International Standard Book Numbers assigned to any physical book that is commercially sold. The numbers are unique 10 – 13 digits and must be purchased from the only agency allowed to distribute them in the U.S. — Bowker ( Some publishing companies purchase large blocks of numbers from Bowker at a reduced rate. They then give or sell the numbers to authors whose books they are publishing. If you purchase ISBNs from Bowker yourself, it costs $125 for one number or $250 for ten numbers.

At first I considered buying a block of ten ISBN numbers from Bowker  because I do plan to publish more books if all goes well. But as I don’t have any other books written yet, I thought I would take the easy route with this first book and use the free ISBN numbers I can get from both Createspace and Smashwords.

Since Createspace will be the publisher of record according to Bowker’s, it will be listed as such in Bowker’s Books in Print listings. And since Createspace forbids authors to list them as the publisher on the copyright page of the book, (for protection against future legal action), my LLC will be listed as the publisher there.

Down the road, if I decide to publish more books, I can always buy a block of ISBNs at that time. Not being the registered ISBN owner will limit my ability to list my book with wholesale catalogs, but I believe the Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble and Ingram or Baker &Taylor catalogs will be good enough. I think the $250 I save from not buying a block of 10 ISBNs can be better put to use on marketing materials.


Createspace will generate the barcode for me even if I provide the ISBN. So it shouldn’t be a problem even if I decide to buy my own.


My book is extremely personal with family photographs included. I will take my chances with the automatic copyright protection I receive without formal registration. I can always register later.


Because the Library of Congress runs the Cataloging in Print (CIP), I understand if I don’t register, it may not be possible to get my book into libraries. The CIP number is needed for library cataloging and Dewey decimal classification. I also understand that most self-published books aren’t likely to be stocked in libraries or ordered by educational institutions. So this doesn’t seem like a high priority. If I realize this is not the case, and libraries and institutions of education are clamoring to buy my book, I can always apply for the Library of Congress Preassigned Control Number program later. From this, I should be able to obtain a CIP listing if I need one. I will think about this later if it becomes an issue.

I’ve looked ahead at Assignment #8 and it is all about money: production costs, royalties, break-even points, etc. I may have to dust off my calculator.

Read Assignment #8

Start at the beginning with Successful Self-Publishing Workshop

8 thoughts on “Successful Self-Publishing —Assignment #7”

  1. great info here. you are really thinking this through without pausing too long to get mired in the details.

    you are making very good progress…thank you for taking us on your journey 🙂

    1. Thanks for your support. I’m making progress with information, but not with actual action. The workshop moderator recommended we don’t actually do anything until we’re finished with the workshop. (I may not be able to follow that to the “T” though.)

    1. I don’t know if you’ve read all the assignments I’ve posted from the Writer’s Digest workshop I’m taking. If you do nothing else, buy April Hamilton’s book, The Indie Author Guide. It’s a great reference.


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