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Publishing Group AnyOne?

Crumbly Writer

It's finally come that time. I've run out of pre-purchased ISBNs. Before I buy another lot of 100 (which has kept me going thru 21 books sold across multiple distributors), I'm now wondering whether it makes more sense to form an independent publishing group, where I join with other authors and purchase an even larger number of ISBNs for us each to share.

I've been debating this for a while, because most self-publishing experts suggest it. Not only does it make you look more professional (even if the publishing group consists only of a single person), but you could then make a 'publishers website' which would feature the works of everyone so anyone searching for the works of one author would naturally be led to the works of the others in the group as well.

Of course, I'd then have to consider republishing most of my books with a new ISBN under that group name, but I'm not sure I'm that worried about it. I'm fairly sure I can simply change the name of the publisher on each site (I hope).

So, anyone interested? Individual ISBNs (for Americans, at least) cost $79 each. If you purchase 100, they only cost 7.90 each, but if you purchase 1,000, they only cost $1.00 each (that's how sites like SW, lulu and D2D offer free ISBNs for new authors). Those are fairly significant savings, though there are only a few of us who publish enough books for it to make a difference for.

Note, unless I hear from others, this is a limited time offer, as I'm likely to purchase my next set of ISBNs before very long.

Ernest Bywater

CW,

I wonder if you really need to use so many ISBNs. I know you need a different ISBN for the e-book as against the print book, and each Publisher needs to have their own ISBN for each title and published type. However, I thought the idea of having your own ISBN was so you, as the publisher of record, could use the same ISBN across different print services. That way you can use the same ISBN for an e-book distributed via Lulu, Amazon, D2D, and any other organisation because you are the same publisher in each case; you're simply changing the distributor.

Since I don't have my own ISBNs I've no problem having them issued by Lulu and another issued by D2D for the same title, but both show Ernest Bywater as the publisher of record in their files.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I wonder if you really need to use so many ISBNs. I know you need a different ISBN for the e-book as against the print book, and each Publisher needs to have their own ISBN for each title and published type. However, I thought the idea of having your own ISBN was so you, as the publisher of record, could use the same ISBN across different print services. That way you can use the same ISBN for an e-book distributed via Lulu, Amazon, D2D, and any other organisation because you are the same publisher in each case; you're simply changing the distributor.

Anytime you try to publish a book, it asks for an ISBN. If the ISBN has been used ANYWHERE else (i.e. it's already on record), they'll reject it out of hand. There's no option for "I own this ISBN and want to share it". :(

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Anytime you try to publish a book, it asks for an ISBN.


True, and as long as the ISBN is being used by the same publisher there should not be a problem.

I checked a few of your ISBNs on the isbnsearch.org website and they show the publisher to be Vincent Berg with the author also as Vincent Berg, then they show a number of stores and distributors the books are available through. They all have the same ISBN.

The print house and distributor need only have an ISBN, they do not require their own ISBN.

at both lulu and D2D I can enter both my own ISBN and the name of the publisher, as long as they match what's registered it should be OK. The rules for the ISBNs require a new ISBN for a different title or a different variation or a different edition. Thus an e-book needs one, a paperback needs another, and a hardcover needs another. However, the publisher can print a paperback through Fulcrum Press or AK Press or any other printhouse using the same ISBN.

When you use Lulu as the print-house and the distributor you have the Lulu impress of the book. When you use D2D as the print-house and distributor you have the D2D impress. You can legally use the same ISBN at both because the publisher is the same - Vincent Berg.

An example of a different edition is when I first released by short stories as an anthology that was an edition, I latter added some more short stories to it and that was a new edition because the content was different while still mostly the same.

Below are some FAQs from the ISBN.org website by Bowker:

What is the purpose of an ISBN?

The purpose of the ISBN is to establish and identify one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors.

Does it matter where a book is printed?

No, books can be printed anywhere. ISBNs are assigned based on the geographical location of the publisher, not the printing company.

What's the difference between a reprint and a new edition?

A reprint means more copies are being printed with no substantial changes. Perhaps a few typos are being fixed. A new edition means that there has been substantial change: content has been altered in a way that might make a customer complain that this was not the product that was expected. Or, text has been changed to add a new feature, such as a preface or appendix or additional content. Or, content has been revised. Or, the book has been redesigned.

If typos are being corrected, is a new ISBN necessary?

No.

Can an ISBN be reused?

No, once a title is published with an ISBN on it, the ISBN can never be used again. Even if a title goes out of print, the ISBN cannot be reused since the title continues to be catalogued by libraries and traded by used booksellers.

If a spouse or family member passes away, can a relative or surviving spouse use the remaining ISBNs?

The ISBNs are considered property of the publishing company and all of the ISBNs can be transferred to the new owners, including a family member. The entire block of ISBNs is transferred to the new company owner(s). The block of ISBNs cannot be divided up among family members.

ISBN Eligibility

The ISBN is intended for a monographic publication: text that stands on its own as a product, whether printed, audio or electronic. ISBNs are never assigned to music, performances or images, such as art prints or photographs. Consult the chart below to determine if specific products/entities are eligible for ISBNs. (chart not included by me - EB)

...............................

As you can see above the important issue is the publisher and the title - in your case that's Vincent Berg - not the printer or the distributor. Thus you do not need a different ISBN for a Lulu to D2D. If they have an internal policy that varies to the law, that's something to take up with them. If still in doubt ask Bowker about a publisher using multiple distributors.

typo edit

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I don't use ISBNs. I'm exclusive to Amazon and use their ASN.

The only real need for an ISBN is to make sure the correct book is purchased (hard cover vs paperback, e-book epub vs mobi, etc.).

awnlee jawking
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

once a title is published with an ISBN on it, the ISBN can never be used again.


Is that true? I'm sure I read that, due to a shortage of ISBNs, some were being recycled. And someone tried to find a book by its ISBN only to find it had been reallocated.

ETA - on further reflection, I seem to recall publishers were the ones responsible for recycling ISBNs.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

True, and as long as the ISBN is being used by the same publisher there should not be a problem.

That's ABSOLUTELY not true. There IS not check for an ISBN's 'publisher'. Instead, they simply check the ISBN catalogue to see whether the ISBN has been used. If it has, they reject the specified ISBN out of hand.

I checked a few of your ISBNs on the isbnsearch.org website and they show the publisher to be Vincent Berg with the author also as Vincent Berg, then they show a number of stores and distributors the books are available through. They all have the same ISBN.

That's NOT because you're ALLOWED to share ISBNs, but that the service (SW, Lulu or D2D) distribute the book to various outlets.

When you use Lulu as the print-house and the distributor you have the Lulu impress of the book. When you use D2D as the print-house and distributor you have the D2D impress. You can legally use the same ISBN at both because the publisher is the same - Vincent Berg.

Your argument is meaningless, because there's no way to implement your idea. There is NO source which will ACCEPT an ISBN which has already been assigned. There's simply no way to assign a previously used ISBN, even IF it's for the same book (believe me, I've checked).

What's the difference between a reprint and a new edition?

A reprint means more copies are being printed with no substantial changes. Perhaps a few typos are being fixed. A new edition means that there has been substantial change: content has been altered in a way that might make a customer complain that this was not the product that was expected. Or, text has been changed to add a new feature, such as a preface or appendix or additional content. Or, content has been revised. Or, the book has been redesigned.

This (reprinting) ONLY applies to each service, NOT to each book. Thus I can revise, update and re'print' a book, but NOT to a different service (i.e. I can't reprint a SW book on lulu).

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Is that true? I'm sure I read that, due to a shortage of ISBNs, some were being recycled. And someone tried to find a book by its ISBN only to find it had been reallocated.

Rather than reallocating old ISBNs, the main emphasis is—as it is with ALL modern-day databases—increasing the format to allow additional entries (i.e. ISBN 10 became ISBN 13).

However, they're reluctant to do that, since every single publisher, bookstore, library and online service would have up update their software to allow them to utilize a new ISBN format. :(

Finally, one last dig:

@Ernest

As you can see above the important issue is the publisher and the title - in your case that's Vincent Berg - not the printer or the distributor. Thus you do not need a different ISBN for a Lulu to D2D. If they have an internal policy that varies to the law, that's something to take up with them. If still in doubt ask Bowker about a publisher using multiple distributors.

There's a field in the Bowker database—I'd assume the same used by most national ISBN organization—where you can list the 'distributor' (i.e. Smashwords), so the ISBN does distinguish ISBNs published through different services (i.e. you need a new ISBN for each service you use (lulu, smashwords, D2D and/or Amazon)).

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

True, and as long as the ISBN is being used by the same publisher there should not be a problem.
That's ABSOLUTELY not true. There IS not check for an ISBN's 'publisher'. Instead, they simply check the ISBN catalogue to see whether the ISBN has been used. If it has, they reject the specified ISBN out of hand.


Who's "they"? SW and Lulu? Back when Borders was around, a traditionally published book would be on the shelves of Borders and Barnes & Nobles with the same ISBN in both stores.

So if an indie was able to have their books on book store shelves, you'd print your books out and carry them to those book stores. All the books (of the same format) would have the same ISBN regardless of which book store it's in.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  zellus
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Who's "they"? SW and Lulu? Back when Borders was around, a traditionally published book would be on the shelves of Borders and Barnes & Nobles with the same ISBN in both stores.

Again, in publishing terms, Borders and B&N are 'distributors', thus the exact same books go to both with the identical ISBN (so they can all reference the same database). The "They" are the publishing 'services' (i.e. the people responsible for people like me to publish their works). In other words, if I can't enter an ISBN, it doesn't really matter how you define it, it's meaningless if you can't implement it.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
zellus

@Switch Blayde

same ISBN regardless of which book store it's in.


But that will only be the case if the book is "printed/published" via ONLY ONE publisher, and only for one format.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Borders and B&N are 'distributors'


I think they're retail outlets. The people who send them the books are distributers.

The reason I asked who "they" are is because I'm wondering if Lulu and SW think of themselves as the publisher. If they do, they will require different ISBNs.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@zellus

But that will only be the case if the book is "printed/published" via ONLY ONE publisher, and only for one format.


True. But CW is the publisher. If he printed off copies of his book in 6x9 paperback format and brought them to the bookstores (he's also functioning as the distributer), they would all have the same ISBN.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Amazon KDP talks about using your own ISBN here: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201834170

If KDP buys your ISBN, they will not allow it to be used outside of KDP (which makes sense because they paid for it).

The "Publisher" field on your paperback's Amazon detail page will read "Independently published." This free ISBN can only be used on KDP for distribution to Amazon and its distribution partners. It cannot be used with another publisher or self-publishing service.


But if you buy your own, they say:

If you use your own ISBN, KDP will check whether your book's imprint matches what's on file with Bowker. You will not be able to publish your book if there is a mismatch. If you are reprinting your book, the title, author name, and binding type must stay the same. A new edition requires a new ISBN.


They also say:

Note: The ISBN in your book's files must match the metadata used when setting up your paperback.

Ernest Bywater

CW,

I gave you the information from the Bowker site, the official information is they care about are the Publisher, Title, Author, Format, and Content stay the same for the ISBN. The actual distributor and print house aren't relevant in the information the supply. I checked some of your ISBNs and they listed the book as being available a number of different distributors.

From what Bowker say if the content is the five items above are the same they are the same edition and you can use the same ISBN. A Lulu impress wouldn't be a different edition to a Random House impress. However, if you list Lulu as the publisher and it has a Lulu ISBN then it gets a different number to one where you list Random House as the publisher using one of their ISBNs.

based on what the ISBN rules and Bowker say if you are the publisher and you lodge the same e-pub with different distribution networks you can use the same ISBN. If you choose to do otherwise, or if the distributors have an internal policy that says otherwise, that's totally irrelevant to what the legal situation is.

Since you seem to be so concerned about this I suggest you ask Bowker direct about this for a definitive answer.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

My print book stories are available from Lulu, and some of the early ones have a Lulu issued ISBN. The Publisher was listed as Lulu with me as the author, the title as listed, and the format as 6 x 9 paperback. Yet when people in Germany wanted a copy it was printed at a Germany printer with the same content and ISBN as the one printed by the Australian Printer, and the various US printers. Same book, same ISBN, different printers all published by Lulu. Same applies with any other publisher.

typo edit

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

The reason I asked who "they" are is because I'm wondering if Lulu and SW think of themselves as the publisher. If they do, they will require different ISBNs.

NO! They each are very clear that they are NOT publishers. The author is the publisher (hence the title, "self-publishing"), but still, they won't process anything that doesn't have a unique ISBN (i.e. one which hasn't been used anywhere else).

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Since you seem to be so concerned about this I suggest you ask Bowker direct about this for a definitive answer.

I've been working with Bowker for years, and have asked them numerous questions on this an other subjects. But the bottom line, is that Bowker is simply a database consolidator. They sell and record ISBN numbers, and that's essentially ALL they do (though they keep trying to find other things to sell). They do NOT control how the publishing industry handles those ISBNs, and they have no control over how the copyright rules are interpreted by the courts.

Again, you can make any distinction you want, but it still won't allow me to 'publish' a new book with the ISBN I used to publish it through another source. I may be the publisher, but each time I release a book on another service, it requires a separate ISBN.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


they won't process anything that doesn't have a unique ISBN (i.e. one which hasn't been used anywhere else)


It would be worth asking their Customer Support why. You can tell them (per Ernest's post) that the Bowker site says:

I gave you the information from the Bowker site, the official information is they care about are the Publisher, Title, Author, Format, and Content stay the same for the ISBN.


You're the publisher.
The title didn't change.
You're the author.
The format is the same.
The content is the same.

It sounds like they don't differentiate between ISBNs you buy and those they buy for you. Like KDP, they don't want you using the ISBNs they paid for elsewhere. That makes sense. But they don't differentiate between those and the ones you buy.

So why buy your own?

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

So why buy your own?

That's the central question most people are asking. For most, especially those only writing one or two books, there is little reason to purchase an ISBN. This is even truer for those, like you, who only publish to Kindle who use their own ID and bypass the ISBN system entirely.

However, for those who publish regularly (2 to 3 books each year, for me), having an ISBN which says "Vincent Berg" (as opposed the default, which say "Createspace", "smashwords" or "lulu" says 'This is someone who takes their work seriously, and who isn't taking the cheapest path they can'. The idea behind the publishing groups, is that rather than announcing 'Help! I'm trying to publish my own books without help from anyone.', listing an independent publisher (even if it's completely owned by you) tells the world that it isn't just you, but that you're organizing things and acting professionally. It's all about presentation. Few readers will ever notice who owns the books ISBN, but the message it sends within the publishing world can be huge.

Crumbly Writer

Sorry, but the prices I quoted are out of date. Bowker's current prices are:
1 ISBN: $124 (Gasp! For ONE damn book!)
10 ISBNs: $295 (Reasonable, at $29.50/book)
100 ISBNs: $575 (the one I had, but it only lasted me 4 years)
1,000 ISBNs: $1,500 (only $1.50/book, but a HUGE cash outlay. Still, for as many books as I publish, 1,000 is only 3 times what I was paying for 100!)

Bowker advises that 1,000 ISBNs will allow you to publish about 200 books (i.e. 5 ISBNs for each published book), which is about what I've been averaging.

The 1,000 ISBN deal seems the way to go, but it'll take me a LONG time to use that many. So, if anyone needs an independent ISBN, I'll have plenty. Now I just need to figure out what name to use for an independent publishing company.

Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

Not only does it make you look more professional (even if the publishing group consists only of a single person),


In other words, to conceal that it's a self-published work? That might be an advantage, although I've seen so many odd publisher names recently I have a feeling there are lots of folks who've done what you propose.

bb

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

In other words, to conceal that it's a self-published work? That might be an advantage, although I've seen so many odd publisher names recently I have a feeling there are lots of folks who've done what you propose.

It's the new 'thing to do' if you're an independent publisher. It supposedly adds a little more credibility to your name, even if there isn't anything more supporting you. Essentially, it's nothing more than incorporating garners a business more prestige. In short, it means you've taken the time to formalize your business and set up a legitimate company to handle your affairs.

In short, it doesn't really buy you anything, but it does look better.

The key is, if I'm going to make this leap, I'd rather decide now whether to do it formerly, or under my own name.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

It supposedly adds a little more credibility to your name, even if there isn't anything more supporting you


I use ESPub as the publisher.

But it actually might backfire. If someone Googles "ESPub" they won't find anything. They won't find a publisher.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

It doesn't take a whole lot to create a new website, especially if it just points to your existing website (i.e. it's a public face which redirects people to each 'author's' websites).

If they dig a little, they'll notice that it's a single-owner corporation, but few will invest that much effort in it.

My biggest issue, though, are all the books I've already got out there. Do I 'republish' them under my new publishing group, or just leave them as they are? (By the way, a whole chunk of my existing ISBNs were wasted when smashwords decided to dump me as a partner. It didn't really affect much, as I simply created a new SW ID, but it invalidated EVERY SINGLE ISBN I wasted on them, and hurt my readers more than it did me (they're unable to update or access the books they legitimately published). To this day, I really don't trust SW and neither, apparently, do any of my readers (since then, my SW sales are negligible)).

Bondi Beach

@Switch Blayde

If someone Googles "ESPub" they won't find anything. They won't find a publisher.


A search on "Clearing Rain Press" turns up three Joe "Bondi" Beach novels on the first page. Along with a lot of stuff about rain, I should add.

bb

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


The key is, if I'm going to make this leap, I'd rather decide now whether to do it formerly, or under my own name.


In some list of self-publishing tips somewhere the author claimed that naming the press (ETA: publisher) after yourself (the author) was an amateurish move. That's why "Bondi Beach Books" became "Clearing Rain Press."

bb

awnlee jawking

@Bondi Beach

In other words, to conceal that it's a self-published work?


It's irritating and possibly fraudulent when someone is claimed to be a published author (therefore their views are more important than anyone else's) yet the publisher is someone you've never heard of and they only 'publish' e-books by that author :(

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

It's irritating and possibly fraudulent when someone is claimed to be a published author (therefore their views are more important than anyone else's) yet the publisher is someone you've never heard of and they only 'publish' e-books by that author :(

Again, no one is pretending they're 'published' by anyone, only that they're part of a 'publishing group'. It's akin to the impact incorporating has on a small businesses reputation. People trust corporations—despite all the evidence to the contrary—more than a struggling small business. The same applies here, if nothing more, it's evidence that you aren't a fly-by-night organization, but someone who's done their due diligence and organized in the proper way.

Besides, doing it this way, if the opportunity comes along for me to take someone under my wings, I'm all set. If not, then more for me! 'D

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Again, you can make any distinction you want, but it still won't allow me to 'publish' a new book with the ISBN I used to publish it through another source. I may be the publisher, but each time I release a book on another service, it requires a separate ISBN.


That may very likely be the distributor policy and not the law on ISBNs. There have been times I've accidentally ended up with two copies of the same book, both from the same publisher but one printed in the UK and one printed in the USA through different print houses, and they both had the same ISBN on them. That's why I'm so sure the same publisher can print through different print houses with the same ISBN.

I sent Bowker an email asking for clarification because of what is in their FAQs, and I'll post their reply when I get it.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

So why buy your own?


Some libraries won't carry a book if it doesn't have an ISBN. I know if I want to lodge a copy of any of my books with the National Library of Australia it has to have an ISBN or they won't accept the submission.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

That may very likely be the distributor policy and not the law on ISBNs. There have been times I've accidentally ended up with two copies of the same book, both from the same publisher but one printed in the UK and one printed in the USA through different print houses, and they both had the same ISBN on them. That's why I'm so sure the same publisher can print through different print houses with the same ISBN.

That's different. That's like Switch's scenario, where one book is distributed to various book stores. In your case, the one ISBN is registered with the same distributor, only their marketing arms are in different geographical regions. You don't need a separate ISBN to publish in Zurich, only if it's a separate publication.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Some libraries won't carry a book if it doesn't have an ISBN. I know if I want to lodge a copy of any of my books with the National Library of Australia it has to have an ISBN or they won't accept the submission.

Not only won't they accept it (they won't), but no bookstore will deal with it. That's because everyone is set up to handle books via ISBN. Accepting a non-ISBN compliant book means they've got to reprocess how they handle materials. They're willing to do it, if it's a large library with dedicated staff for ancient text they're interested in preserving for historical purposes, but not for the average 'local author'.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Again, no one is pretending they're 'published' by anyone


The description 'published author' says otherwise. Many of the 'writing expert' bloggers cited in this forum claim to be 'published authors', yet have never been published by an independent publishing house.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

The description 'published author' says otherwise. Many of the 'writing expert' bloggers cited in this forum claim to be 'published authors', yet have never been published by an independent publishing house.

They're not claiming to be 'published by' anyone, they're self-published authors. I list on my blog that I've published 20 books, including two box-set collections. Nowhere do I claim to have been published by a mainstream publisher.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ross at Play

Crumbly,
I don't know why you don't just buy the thousand ISBNs and tell us all you now run a new vanity publishing service (services provided and prices available on request).
Maybe SOL site policies would not allow such announcements? Maybe lawyers would send you broke and/or insane before you even started?
I read exchanges you, EB, and SB have about the hassles of trying to get your stories to the market and my eyes glaze over. I never want to need to know any of the nonsense - the bit that goes between "Chapter 1" and "THE END" is as much as I can bear thinking about.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Nevertheless, the term 'published author' means something rather different to their own circumstances, and misusing it in that way is tantamount to fraud.

The BBC is currently running a National Short Story Writing Contest. Despite the name, the contest is only open to published authors, and the detailed T&C specifically exclude authors who are only self-published.

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I read exchanges you, EB, and SB have about the hassles of trying to get your stories to the market and my eyes glaze over. I never want to need to know any of the nonsense - the bit that goes between "Chapter 1" and "THE END" is as much as I can bear thinking about.

I'll admit, it's been a steep climb learning all the ins and outs of self-publishing, which is why I'm always eager to dole out suggestions—hoping to save others the same aggregation—though, in most instances, it's something you really can't appreciate until you've been through it yourself.

On the other hand, the 'experts' all say that learning new things is one of the best guards against Alzheimer's, so I'm hoping all this work will pay off in a few more years of independent living.

Worse, the few bucks I earn every month, while rewarding, in no way justify the effort I pour into learning all of this shit.

Still, it's an entertaining hobby that I'm glad to share with my readers, providing unusual stories they're unlikely to find anywhere else. But starting a vanity publishing service? You can forget that nonsense. If anything, I might offer my graphic design expertise in designing book covers, but that pays shit too, as there are quite a few such services online at the moment, none of which seem to be earning much.

As for you, and others in the same situation, I recommend concentrating on your writing. I'd already written seven books (at well over 1 million words) before I ever entertained the notion of publishing one. If you've got the catalogue of work, you can always choose to publish later. My offer wasn't as much wanting to sell my services as much as it was offering to share services with others in similar situations.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

The BBC is currently running a National Short Story Writing Contest. Despite the name, the contest is only open to published authors, and the detailed T&C specifically exclude authors who are only self-published.

Alas, the big question is whether they consider vanity press victims as 'published' authors, since they technically have signed a contract with a publishing house, even though they're left out to dry afterwards. Or, do they restrict submissions to only the big three major publishing companies, which in itself sounds unfair. Either way, the line between 'accepted' and 'unaccepted' published authors gets flimsier every day.

For me, I have NO intention of ever submitting stories to a major publishing house, because I know the stories I write aren't what they're looking for anyway. I write for an exclusively niche market, but support me, but will never provide me with the types of sales which would qualify me as a 'successful' author. And I can live comfortable with that.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Bondi Beach

@Ernest Bywater

Some libraries won't carry a book if it doesn't have an ISBN. I know if I want to lodge a copy of any of my books with the National Library of Australia it has to have an ISBN or they won't accept the submission.


Think they'd take a book from a guy with "Bondi Beach" in his name, along with an ISBN?

bb

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Either way, the line between 'accepted' and 'unaccepted' published authors gets flimsier every day.


I pointed out that limiting the entry to published authors would act as a filter to reduce the quality of the entries. Top authors wouldn't get out of bed to pen a story for the BBC, so it would attract only the weaker published authors. And the top self-published authors, some of whom are peers of published authors for the quality of their work, are specifically excluded.

That view brought me no little opprobrium from authors wanting to preserve the class distinction between published and self-published :(

Actually I suspect the main reason the BBC excluded self-published authors from a 'national' competition was to strictly curb the number of entries, being cheapskates apart from when it comes to paying their misogynistic male stars :(

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

Think they'd take a book from a guy with "Bondi Beach" in his name, along with an ISBN?

I've never had much success with libraries. The only book purchased by a library was my first, which included a lot of harem related sex and a strong incest theme. I also tried to donate a book to my local library, for the expressed interest my local fans could read it. It subsequently disappeared for over two years, and later turned up in Raleigh, over five hours away. I won't repeat that mistake again!

Libraries are like bookstores. Some accept books by local authors, some flatly refuse to accept any books associated in any way with Amazon, which they seen as anathema to legitimate authors, while others only stock the types of stories they 'think' local readers are interested in (in my case, those are 'beach reads' or stories about local history and/or childrens books).

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


the contest is only open to published authors, and the detailed T&C specifically exclude authors who are only self-published.


The BBC is behind the times. I wouldn't be surprised if the publishing industry/companies are funding the contest.

There have been very successful self-published authors. Hugh Howey comes to mind. After his success, the publishers begged for him to sign. He eventually sort of did. It was unprecedented, but he signed a contract keeping digital rights.

And do you need to have a novel published. I sold short stories to e-magazines. So they were published and since I got paid it makes me a professional. So if you're published in a magazine, is that a "published author?" After all, it's a short story contest, not a novel contest.

And what's a publishing company. There are teenagers on wattpad soliciting other teenagers to publish with them. They're not a Vanity Publisher. They don't charge you anything. But they are a very small publisher that will probably accept any manuscript.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Bondi Beach

Libraries are like bookstores.


Ernest can tell us for sure, but it sounds like the National Library of Australia takes anything published, including self-published, in Australia, including published by an Australian on an overseas Web site or other platform.

So, author's name alone won't get Joe "Bondi" Beach into the National Library.

bb

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

And do you need to have a novel published. I sold short stories to e-magazines. So they were published and since I got paid it makes me a professional. So if you're published in a magazine, is that a "published author?" After all, it's a short story contest, not a novel contest.


I can't remember the full T&C but IIRC short stories accepted by certain magazines were counted as 'published'.

AJ

Replies:   AmigaClone
AmigaClone

@awnlee jawking

IIRC short stories accepted by certain magazines were counted as 'published'.


Arthur C. Clarke first published in a magazine. In 1948 he later tried to enter a short story "The Sentinel" in a BBC contest but it was rejected. About twenty years later that story was used as the basis for a scene in 2001 a Space Odyssey.

Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

Think they'd take a book from a guy with "Bondi Beach" in his name, along with an ISBN?


As long as you go through all of the hoops they list on their website, yes.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Ernest Bywater

It seems the policy and the law has changed since I last looked at the NLA website and an ISBN is no longer a requirement, but depositing a copy of your print book is now a legal requirement in Australia. Never seen anything on this in the news.

Ernest Bywater

About the use of ISBNs with different distributors, I've the following emails exchange with Bowker:

1. Initial email to Bowker:

I'm an independent author who's having a heated discussion with another independent author who is a friend. We both self publish via on-line service and print-on-demand services. We're discussing about purchasing blocks of ISBN numbers and how we need to use them. based on what I've read on your site's FAQs I believe I can list myself as a publisher to buy a block of ISBNs to use for my publishing under my name. Once I do that I must issue a different ISBN for each format variant (for me that's 6 x 9 in print paperback and e-pub) of each title and I can use the same ISBN for the same publisher - title - author - format - content regardless of who is doing the actual printing and distribution for me when I'm the listed publisher. I'm ignoring the issue of editions to simplify this query.

I use the two on-line print and distribution services of Lulu and Draft2Digital to distribute the e-pubs I create. From the information I've read on you FAQs I believe I can legally use the same ISBN number for the e-pub I distribute through both as long as it's an ISBN I own as a publisher and have purchased the ISBN from yourselves. This would be one catalogue entry for my e-book.

My friend thinks I would need to use a different ISBN for each distribution network. This would be 2 catalogue entries for my e-book.

We both need to resolve this question before we decide how big a block of ISBNs to purchase, because it makes a significant difference to the block size due to us both being prolific writers. I would appreciate a prompt reply to this query

2. Their reply:

What we have been told by our Authors is when you use different distributors, they ask that a new ISBN be assigned. I believe this is done because they don't wan to be associated with any other prior distributors.

3. Follow up question:

From your reply I gather it would be lawful and within the ISBN issuing rules to use the one ISBN for all of the distributors, but there may be an issue with the distributor policy that's not supported by the ISBN rules. Can you please confirm that's the situation. I can live with it either way, it just changes how I go about it, despite how it may end up with multiple catalogue listings for the same e-book.

4. Their reply:

That's correct.

Summary:

From a legal viewpoint, and the requirements of ISBNs, you do not need a different ISBN for each distribution services you use. If the distribution service is insisting you have a different ISBN for what you distribute through them it's an internal policy only and it has no basis in law at all.

I can see they check if there is a catalogue entry, but if you have your own ISBN and say that you should be able to use it at all of the various distribution services. If they provide a clear statement of not allowing you to use the same ISBN then I see no value in having your own ISBNs. This is because the main reason behind the iSBNs is to have the same identifier for a book across the industry. If I need two ISBNs to distribute via Lulu and D2D I see no value or point in buying any at all when they offer to give me a free one to use within their system.

I'll write to both and see what they have to say, and will post those replies when I get them.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

I've just sent this email to both Lulu and D2D - now to awiat their answers.

G'day,

When I submit a project I have an option to use one of your ISBNs or to provide my own ISBN. Does your system allow me to use an ISBN I purchased from Bowker which I also wish to use with another distribution service like D2D? If you do permit this I can see a reason to buy me own so I can have the single reference number, but if you insist I have a different ISBN to the other distribution service I see no point in giving Bowker my money. Thus I need to know what your policy is. I'm talking about my own ISBN, not one you issue.

Regards,

Ernest Bywater


Edit to add the Lulu response of:

You will only be able to use the same ISBN for one book, even if the title is the same. Think of an ISBN as sort of a social security number for your book, in that once it is assigned, it cannot be duplicated or transferred.

with a reference to their ISBN agreement web page at:

connect.lulu.com/en/discussion/31998/bringing-your-own-isbn-agreement

which includes:

Lulu, on behalf of you, the publisher, will be the sole source of bibliographic data on your book. Lulu will feed data to the U.S. ISBN Agency as well as to Bowker's Books In Print ® and other industry databases. The data will identify you as the publisher.

Which is a Lulu policy that means you can't use the same ISBN elsewhere.

Guessing D2D and other distribution networks have similar policies I see no point in buying my own ISBNs because they can't be used unless I set up my own full blown publishing service.

Thanks for the offer, CW, but no thanks, I won't take you up on it.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Bondi Beach

@Ernest Bywater

As long as you go through all of the hoops they list on their website, yes.


You have to be Australian or published in Australia. Name's not enough.

bb

bb

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

You have to be Australian or published in Australia. Name's not enough.


I sent them an email asking for clarification because their website implies I should be making a legally required deposit with them, but when I tried to open an account I had to be a government agency or a publisher. So I'm not sure what they want now.

When I looked at the requirements back in 2004 or 2005 you had to complete a form, send in the form, then hand deliver or post in the book if they accept your deployment request. Not the same now.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Thanks for the offer, CW, but no thanks, I won't take you up on it.

Actually, in your case, I'd file for ISBNs in Australia. Bowker only covers the U.S., and they traditionally charge more than most other countries for the same thing. (Many countries in Europe subsidize ISBNs as a way of encouraging native authors to publish.)

If you used those, the entries should be acceptable to lulu, though it might take a bit longer for them to process the entries. However, that might work out in your favor. You could publish the book in one country, then before your ISBN can work it's way through the system, submit it to the other outlet. 'D

Honestly, though, I was just wondering whether anyone was already looking for cheap ISBNs, not encouraging anyone to start into the same publishing track that I am. That's partly why I go through SO MANY ISBNs, is because each outlet requires their own ISBN, and by Bowker's own estimates, each author will use up to five ISBNs for each book published (which is what I've been averaging).

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

each author will use up to five ISBNs for each book published


My guess the 5 is more like: 1) hard cover, 2) 6x9, 3) mass market paperback, 4) epub, 5) mobi (or some other combination).

Bondi Beach

@Ernest Bywater

I sent them an email asking for clarification because their website implies I should be making a legally required deposit with them, but when I tried to open an account I had to be a government agency or a publisher. So I'm not sure what they want now.


Happy Australia Day!

My recorder cut off just as Halep and Kerber began their third set slog, dammit. I know who won, but I wanted to see it, especially after watching Davis almost beat Halep in that marathon a couple of days ago.

bb

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

Happy Australia Day!


I'm too busy trying not to melt to do much of anything else.

richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

melt

Frozen water? In an oven most people would bake, broil or possibly fry.

Bondi Beach

@Ernest Bywater

I'm too busy trying not to melt to do much of anything else.


So are the players at the Open, apparently. Except they're also trying to play tennis at the same time.

bb

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

So are the players at the Open, apparently. Except they're also trying to play tennis at the same time.


that's their stupid fault for doing things like that in the middle of a heat wave - expected top is in the 39 to 43 degrees Celsius range depending on where you are currently 35 and still rising

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Ernest Bywater

that's their stupid fault for doing things like that in the middle of a heat wave - expected top is in the 39 to 43 degrees Celsius range depending on where you are currently 35 and still rising


40+ on the court the other day, they said. But they also said there's a steady breeze, for whatever that's worth.

bb

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

40+ on the court the other day, they said. But they also said there's a steady breeze, for whatever that's worth.

That's akin to the fan in an oven to more evenly distribute the heat over the cooking surface!

Crumbly Writer

I don't know about Amazon, lulu and smashwords, but this is the response I got from D2D on the subject:

If you have ownership of the ISBN you have for a book, you can use ISBNs you already have for the books you submit! If the ISBN is owned by the distributor, we cannot accept it.

ISBNs purchased through Bowker can be used in our system without any problem.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

That means that you can use the same ISBN to post to D2D that you use to post to Amazon, SW and lulu. If they balk, there's a ready appeals process to resort to (as opposed to Amazon, where there's NO appeal process for anything they decide!).

Now I'll have to ask each of the other distributions separately what their positions are. Hopefully, if the others agree, I can post to Amazon first, so I don't have to try to figure out who to appeal to, and then any who don't get in line I simply won't post to.

I post to lulu and SW simply to trigger sales on their online bookstores, but sales via those sites have fallen precipitously over the past several years. At this stage, I get NO sales via lulu at all, and only a few via SW, so it's no great loss dropping either.

On the other hand, I get NO direct sales via D2D, since they have no online storefront, but their submission process is vastly simpler than either lulu's or SW's!

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