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ISBN Numbers,

ISBN Number

Look on the back cover or open any paper bound book to the second or third page, often referred to as the copyright page, and you will usually find an ISBN number. An ISBN number is required if you plan to sell paper books or CD's to bookstores, libraries, and many specialty retailers.

If you intend to sell only ebooks and not paper bound books, you may be able to get by without including an ISBN number. Amazon KDP doesn't require an ISBN for Kindle editions. However, you may run into resellers like Smashwords who insist that your ebooks have an ISBN to be included in their Premium Catalog. Smashwords offers the option of providing your own ISBN, buying one from them for $9.95 or getting one of their free ISBNs. See their website for details.

In general, each type of book that you publish will require its own ISBN. In other words, the hardback will have its own specific ISBN, the softpaper book will have its ISBN, the ebook another, and the CD yet another. Do not use the same ISBN number assigned to one of your products when marketing your ebooks. Otherwise you will end up with some confused and unhappy customers.

ISBN prefixes can be purchased individually or in blocks, if you have many titles lined up to publish. You assign the ISBNs arbitrarily to each of your titles and keep a log. The agency that handles ISBN registration in the US is RR Bowker and the link for buying and assigning ISBNs is

Read more about ISBN from Wikipedia

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Copyright is the legal protection of your original intellectual property. You cannot copyright ideas or book titles, only content such as books, stories, poetry, music and movies. According to law, your material becomes protected as soon as it is created and available for viewing. Whenever you ask someone for a testimonial or you wish to quote from another author's words, you will need their signed permission before you can legally publish those words in your ebooks, marketing materials or web site. Otherwise, the person can sue you for infringement.

Although registering a copyright for your books is recommended, legally, copyright exists from the moment your work is created. Registering with the U.S. Copyright Office is necessary, however, if you wish to sue someone for infringement of your material. Cost for registering a copyright is $30 per book. Download the registration forms online from: ( Use Form TX for most books.) Fill in the forms online and then print and mail with your payment and copies of your books to: Library of Congress, Copyright Office, 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington DC 20559

For information on how copyright and other issues affect you from a legal standing, see and These sites contain many free articles and reports that can help you learn how to avoid potential legal hassles. Another excellent site with free reports on publishing law is


On the back cover of every book or CD available through bookstores or libraries are barcodes. Although, downloadable ebooks will not require a barcode, CD's and print-on-demand books will. Barcode labels are electronically scanned at the checkout counters as a way of saving time from punching in numbers. There are several types of barcoding formats. For selling to bookstores, use the EAN - Bookland format.

A free barcode generator outputs files as EPS images that you can place on your paper book covers:

Library of Congress (LCC) number

A Library of Congress number is not necessary to market your ebooks. Having LCC numbers for paper bound books was once thought to help increase sales to libraries. I've heard some publishers say it won't make much difference. Cost of acquiring an LCC is free. For services available to publishers in getting an LCC number or in relation to the Library of Congress, visit:

Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington D.C. 20559-6000

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This article is copyrighted and excerpted from the book Your Guide to Ebook Publishing Success by James Dillehay  No portion of this material may be published, resold or reproduced in any form including electronically for any purposes.