There are many standard book numbers and listings that are part of getting ready to print your book and moving it into the hands of readers. You can do this type of administrative work yourself or outsource it to a virtual author’s assistant or your book designer.

It is important to note that when you self-publish, you become not only an author but also a publisher. One of the things each publisher must have is a set of ISBNs or International Standard Book Numbers.

The ISBN is a number issued to each book by the publisher and embedded in the bar code on the back of the book. The number comes from R. R. Bowker, the official U.S. agency responsible for assigning ISBNs. The system they designed makes it easier for everyone to order books.

In order to sell through bookstores, distributors, wholesalers, and major retailers, each book must have a unique ISBN.

Traditionally a 10-digit number, the ISBN changed to 13 digits in 2007 to become the standard international numbering system.

Every publisher must obtain an ISBN for each new book and each new edition of the book including ebooks.

ISBN numbers can be ordered in blocks of 10 or more for about $270 for the first 10. The cost per book goes way down with the more numbers ordered. See

You need a newly-assigned ISBN:

1. For each new edition.
2. For each separate information product (such as an eBook – separate or Kindle, another for the iPad, etc.
3. If the title changes.

You do NOT need a new ISBN:

1. When you reprint the book even if you make minor changes.
2. If you change the price of the book