We all know that there is a cost to publishing. As a self-publisher, you bear this financial burden. You may feel that you don’t need anything other than your manuscript and a Kindle ebook. I guess that depends on what your goals and objectives are.
For the rest of you, I recommend you, at least, understanding the following:
- ISBN ($)
- Library of Congress Catalog Control Number (free)
- Copyright ($)
- Barcode ($ and Free)
ISBN — International Book Number.
While you do not necessarily need to purchase your own number, (Create Space, for example, will provide one free), you still need to understand what it is, what it does and how to purchase one.
Technically, you do not need an ISBN for ebooks (epub and mobi) but some distributors may require one. You DO need an ISBN for print. Some print on demand companies (Create Space) will provide you a free ISBN. However, if you plan to purchase your own, you should have one ISBN for each format you plan to publish: paperback, hardback, epub, mobi, audio, etc.
Purchasing numbers in blocks of 10 or 100 will save on cost in the long run.
Library of Congress Control Number.
If you look inside most books you will see an block of copy that identifies the book’s subject/genre. this is called the Publisher’s Cataloging-in-Publication Data block or CIP (see image below). The Library of Congress creates data blocks for publishers who have published more than 7 books from different authors.
Since many authors publishing today are self-publishers, the Library of Congress offers the Preassigned Control Number (PCN) program. A pre-assigned control number is easy to obtain and it’s free. While you do not receive a Data Block, you will receive a registered, identyfing number, which needs to be placed on your books’ copyright page (e.g. Library of Congress Control Number: 2017999999.) Note the first four numbers indicate the year the number was assigned.
So what is an PCN?
“A Library of Congress catalog control number is a unique identification number that the Library of Congress assigns to the catalog record created for each book in its cataloged collections. Librarians use it to locate a specific Library of Congress catalog record in the national databases and to order catalog cards from the Library of Congress or from commercial suppliers. The purpose of the Preassigned Control Number (PCN) program is to enable the Library of Congress to assign control numbers in advance of publication to those titles that may be added to the Library’s collections.” —Library of Congress
According to Copyright.gov, a copyright is “a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, US Code) to the authors of ‘original works of authorship’ including literacy, dramatic, musical, artistic and certain other intellectual properties.”
No. You can’t mail a copy to yourself. That is a myth. Officially registering a copyright is a low-cost protective measure every author should take.
An optical, one-dimensional, machine-readable, representation of data describing something about the product that carries the barcode.
The Bookland EAN bar code displays a set of two bar codes side by side. The first bar code on the left is the EAN derived from the ISBN. The bar code of the right, which is smaller, is a 5-digit add-on which often encodes the retail price of the publication. This is referred to as an EAN-5.
FUN FACT: The very first scanning of the now ubiquitous Universal Product Code (UPC) barcode was on a pack of Wrigley chewing gum in June 1974.
Free Barcode Generator: Bookow.com (free, but they take donations)
Purchase Barcodes: MyIdentifiers.com ($)
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