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Can I publish a book without an ISBN?

Can I Publish a Book Without an Isbn?

Written by Araix Rand

Araix Rand is the Founder of Bookllo Publishing, an author, blogger, and photographer. Since 2019, he has been helping authors in self-publishing and marketing their books. Additionally, he writes for various business and marketing blogs.

Categories: Self Publishing Question

Published on: 3 May, 2024

You can publish ebook without an ISBN. Selling Ebook online is much easier. There are platforms Like Gumroad and Selly that can help you sell ebooks without ISBN.

Publishing a print book without an ISBN is not possible. You can print a book without an ISBN, but you can’t sell it and the book will be watermarked as “Not available for Sale”. The good part of self-publishing books nowadays is some platforms offer free ISBN. Some self-publishing platforms also offer free ISBN for ebook publishing.

Platforms such as Draft2Digital offer free ISBN for print and ebook both. D2D also distributes books on multiple retailer websites, allowing authors to manage their books at one place and get paid easier.

Do I really need an ISBN? - Book Printing
Photo by Araix Rand on Unsplash

Downside of using Free ISBN

Using a free ISBN to publish ebook is not a big deal, as you can unpublish anytime and republish using a different ISBN without any issues. But the same is not true for print books, as you can’t completely take down a print book from the retailer website even after unpublishing. Republishing the print book may create copyright issues.

It is highly recommended to use your own ISBN to publish a print book. For ebook it’s optional. But, recommended for better distribution and professional look. Below are downsides of using a Free ISBN to self-publish a book:

1. Limited Distribution:

Free ISBNs are offered by the self-publishing platforms like Amazon KDP. That free ISBN can’t be used out of Amazon. Amazon KDP has an expanded book distribution feature that lets authors publish their books on other retailer websites through Amazon KDP.

The distribution network of Amazon KDP Expanded distribution is small compared to IngramSpark. Also, your book has to meet Expanded Book Distribution terms to use this feature.

Your book distribution will be locked into one publishing platform and its distribution network. You can’t change the ISBN of your book once it is published. Furthermore, republishing a printed book is difficult.

2. Unprofessional Look:

Free ISBN comes with self-publishing platform imprint name. Your book may appear low quality to a book retailer and readers because of your book imprint name. The Amazon KDP imprint name “Independently Published” is popular and easily recognizable. The booksellers will easily know that your book is self-published through Amazon KDP.

Learn more why you shouldn’t use Amazon KDP free ISBN

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