In Good e-Reader, some interesting statistics were reported recently. A graphical representation indicated that up to 30% of ebooks sold in the United States are untracked. Why? Because they are self-published and do not have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN). An ISBN acts as a unique identifier for your book as it enters the book distribution system. If a book doesn’t have an ISBN, tracking sales of it becomes impossible. The major benefit of having an ISBN for your book is that it makes it eligible for listing in brick and mortar book stores. Ordering and distribution of books is done in the main, using ISBNs. Books that have ISBNs are also listed in national bibliographic databases of books in print, making them searchable by people.
If you self-publish an ebook with Amazon or Smashwords for instance, these companies will assign an identification number for you. Amazon for example, will assign an ASIN. However, these numbers are still not real ISBNs and hence are not recordable by industry wide distribution systems. In countries like the United States and the UK ISBNs can be purchased by authors, typically individually or in bulk.
India is a unique position when it comes to ISBNs, as they can be obtained for free by applying to the Raja Rammohan Roy National Agency for ISBN. As the self-publishing segment of the overall book publishing sector in India gets larger, getting an ISBN for your book and/or ebook will ensure it can be distributed to and ordered by retailers and book stores. Also, over time, it will help contribute to more accurate recording of just how many self-published books are being sold across the country.
Image credit: Doug Coldwell on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]