I’m so excited! I am now the happy owner of a block of ISBN numbers! I know it sounds kind of silly to get excited over a bunch of numbers, but these aren’t just any numbers. These numbers bring me one step closer to my dream of being a published author. I can look at the row of digits and picture them on the back of my soon-to-be book cover — the cover that will wrap around my creation and hopefully entice potential buyers to take a look. The ISBN that I assign to my book will be registered in the Library of Congress and will appear in book listings worldwide. Whoa! Deep breath…

I purchased the ISBNs from Bowker Identifier Services at In the process, I discovered that Bowker also has a Web site at with information for those embarking on the self-publishing path. I haven’t gone through much of it yet, but on first glance, it looks like it will be a useful resource. On the bottom right side of the home page, I found a list of a dozen links to more great resources for writers: The Book Designer, Writer Beware: The Blog, Writer’s Digest Blog, and the Independent Book Publishers Association, to name a few. Well worth checking out. I know I’ll be back soon to read more.

But for now, I’m going to go look at my ISBN numbers again and smile for the rest of the day. 🙂

21 thoughts on “ISBNs!

  1. I’ve been toying with the idea of buying ISBNs for my books. I’ve decided to stick with the free ones from the various publishing sites for my current series, but in the future, I’ll probably want to buy my own. How many did you decide to get?


    • The trick with the free ones is that whoever you get it from becomes the default publisher. It’s not a big deal, but if you have your own imprint or simply want your name as publisher, you have to pay. Bowker charges $250 for 10 if I’m not mistaken. Of course, if you have an extra $1k lying around, you can buy 1000 for $1 each. 😉


    • There were only two choices for me: a block of 10 or a block of 100. I wish they offered something in between, but they don’t. Bowker says the block of 10 is good for 2-3 books, with each version of each book needing a unique ISBN (hardback, paperback, e-book, .pdf, etc.). The block of 100 should be good for 20-25 books. Since I’m planning on publishing more than 2 or 3 books, I went with the bigger block. It’s a serious chunk of money, but it’s actually less money than buying two blocks of 10, if you find out later that one block of 10 isn’t enough.


  2. Congratulations!!! I vividly remember how excited I was on a DC trip to get my official Library of Congress card and walk those hallowed rooms. You are creating your legacy by acquiring these official numbers, and thinking about actually having a book as part of that collection. I think I DO know how excited this small step is to you because it’s a huge step in YOUR life.


  3. It’s funny how exciting these symbolic steps can be, even when they’re just numbers. Have you found any memorable patterns in the digits? ‘Ah, three sevens in a row, now I will think of my ISBNs whenever I see that pattern.’


  4. Pingback: Celebrate the Small Things | Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams

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