Your book’s ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique code that carries important metadata that is crucial for efficient marketing and distribution. This 13-digit number contains the title, the author, the price, the edition, the language it is written in, and searchable keywords that help readers find it. It ensures that readers get the exact book that they are looking for. But obtaining a new ISBN can be confusing and raise a lot of questions, especially when your book already has one.
Can I Reuse an ISBN?
An ISBN cannot be reused once it has been assigned. However, certain occasions can require a new ISBN for an already existing book. This is because variations of one book may exist and, therefore, must be differentiated. After all, you wouldn’t want to purchase a book only to find that it was in a language you cannot read or a format you could not access.
When Do I Need a New ISBN?
It can be tricky to know when your book needs a new ISBN. Certain changes to your text require it while others do not, and it is not always obvious which alterations fall into each category.
You need a new ISBN when:
- You make substantial changes to your book. Ex: creating a revised second edition, adding a foreword, an appendix, or a new chapter, etc.
- You publish your book in different formats. Paperback books, hardback books, audiobooks, and eBooks (ePub, PDF, Mobi) each require a unique ISBN.
- You change the title of the book. An ISBN identifies a specific work, so changing your book’s main identifier will make it more difficult to find without a new ISBN.
- You get a new publisher or take back the rights to a book and decide to self-publish. The ISBN identifies not only your book but its publisher as well. If you change publishers, you will need an ISBN from the new publisher.
- You translate your book into a different language. Each translation requires a new ISBN.
- You sell your book both individually and as a set. The set needs a new ISBN. One book has its own ISBN, the second (and third, and fourth, and so on) has a different ISBN, and the set containing both books has its own, separate ISBN.
You do NOT need a new ISBN when:
- You make minor edits to your book. Fixing a few typos will not require a new ISBN.
- You change the price of your book. However, you will need to update your metadata to reflect the change of price.
- You change the cover of the book. A small change to make your book more marketable will not require a new number. However, if the change would substantially change the product and cause complaints, a new ISBN should be assigned.
Where Can I Get a New ISBN?
eBooks2go provides ISBNs for every format and makes the publishing process a breeze. Learn more about what is included in our self-publishing packages here.
Just need a new ISBN number? We also sell ISBNs individually for $29.99. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a new number today!