isbn information

Purchase and ISBN Number

Whether you are planning to print and sell a hardcover book, soft cover book, cook book, coffee table book, children book, calendar, and etc.. The ISBN number is a very important part of the process. ISBN stands for International Standard Book number.  You can purchase your ISBN numbers online through various

agents/brokers.  PRC Book Printing recommends to purchase your US ISBN through R.R. Bowker, to purchase online:  You will receive a 13 digit number, which uniquely identifies a book and the publisher/author.

The 13 digit number is created in five parts:

1.      “978” this is the prefix

2.      Group or country identifier number

3.      Publisher ID

4.      Title ID, which is for a particular title or edition

5.      At the end a “check digit” which validates the ISBN

Current pricing as of October 2013, to purchase 1 ISBN# the cost is $125 plus $50 for the barcode.  If you purchase 10 ISBN’s (if you are producing a series or multiple editions of a book) the current price is $250 plus $25 for the barcodes (current pricing taken from R.R. Bowker website-10/1/13, does not include taxes, fees or whatever else is applicable).

It’s important to note that the only way to brand yourself as the publisher of a book is to own the ISBN. Many financial support or vanity publishers (“vanity publisher” term describing a publishing house which authors pay to have their books published) exist online that say they are “giving” you an ISBN as part of their publishing package but there is no legitimate way for them to do this because Bowker is the exclusive US agent for ISBNs. What the vanity presses are actually doing is letting you use one of their ISBNs. This distinction is important because that means the ISBN has their publisher prefix and NOT yours. In other words, the vanity presses are the publisher of record, NOT you. Many people have been misled, believing that they are the publisher, when they are not and it can cause problems down the road when you try to market the book.

Given that vanity presses have always had an extremely bad reputation in the publishing industry; it’s a good idea to avoid them. Reviewers and bookstores generally won’t touch books produced by vanity presses. When you publish with a vanity press, under some contracts, you may not have complete ownership rights of the books that are produced. If you have to pay someone to publish your book and they say you’ll get royalties and “your own” ISBN, be very wary. It’s probably a vanity press.

If you never plan to sell your book through any online channels like Amazon or work with bookstores, distributors or libraries, it’s possible you can avoid getting an ISBN.

The barcodes are usually placed on the back cover of books.  If you are printing a cover and dust jacket, you will need to place on both.  Placement of the barcode is usually at the lower right hand corner of the back cover.

We highly recommend our self publishers/authors to add the ISBN number to their cook books, children’s books, hard cover book and soft cover books!

Please contact PRC Book Printing, if you are interested in book printing services, Email us: or Call us TOLL FREE:  888.659.8320!

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