Buying an ISBN for your book is simple. Understanding all of the metadata fields to complete when assigning an ISBN to your book can be rather confusing. This post will help you understand the various metadata, or book information, you can enter into Bowker’s database.
If you’re not ready to publish, you can still buy ISBNs in anticipation of publication. In fact, it’s a good idea to go ahead and get your ISBNs and add any metadata as soon as possible. You can always add or edit the metadata later.
You’ll need to upload a PDF and digital book cover. The PDF does not have to be the final edition, but it should be close to it. This PDF will only be used for reference. It will never be published. Again, you can upload a completed version later. You don’t need to have your cover and PDF ready when you buy your ISBN. Once you buy ISBNs, they will exist in your account. As you need them, you go into your account and assign a book to each ISBN, along with the metadata. Much of the information may not be relevant to your book and you can leave it blank. You can edit your book’s metadata in Bowker any time you wish.
Assigning an ISBN to Your Book:
1. Go to www.myidentifiers.com
2. Create an account.
3. Click My Account in the menu.
4. Click Manage ISBNs in the pull-down menu.
5. Click Assign Title to assign an ISBN to your book.
6. In the first column, enter the title details. In the second column, upload a PDF of the book text and an image of the book cover.
Add Metadata for Your Book
7. Click Add Contributors and enter the author name.
8. In the right column, select Author in the list Contributor Function.
9. Enter the Contributor Biography in the text box below.
10. At this point, you can add more contributors, or Save and Go to: Format and Size.
11. Enter the Medium for this version of your book. This will likely be Print or E-Book.
12. Enter the Format of this version. For print, you will likely choose a format such as Paperback or Hardback; or for ebook you will be given only one option: Electronic book text.
13. Format Details can be rather tricky. If you are assigning a paperback, you should choose Trade Paperback here. For ebook formats, this field will not appear.
14. Select a Package Description based on how your distributor will deliver the book. For a paperback, it may be In Box; for an ebook, you can leave this field blank.
15. For Trade Catalogue, select the choice that represents where retailers may purchase your book; for example US open market edition.
16. For Current Subjects, select the BISAC code that best represents your book.
Note: for ebooks formats, two extra fields will appear. File Type: Enter EPUB. For File Size, find your EPUB file on your computer and look at the file size. Enter it here.
17. Click Go to Sales and Pricing.
18. Select the country where your book will be sold. Here, I suggest selecting your home country, if you have worldwide publishing rights. Fill in as much information as you have available. For the Title Status, I suggest entering Forthcoming if your book is not yet available; Active, if your book is for sale. Target Audience for most books is Trade.
19. Enter pricing information for this version. For Price Availability, select Not Yet Published for a forthcoming book, or Available if your book has been published and is available for sale. Distributor and Discount Code refers to a distributor you have contracted with to make your book available to bookstores and the discount you plan to offer retailers. Leave these blank for POD-Print on Demand-only books.
2o. The most important information at the bottom of this screen is under Rights Type. If you have exclusive worldwide rights, select For sale with exclusive rights. Next to Rights Territory, select World. If you do not have worldwide rights, make the appropriate selections based on your publication rights.
Click Submit and your book will be published with its unique ISBN in Bowker’s Books in Print database.
Hurray! Your book is ready to be discovered.
BONUS: I thought you might like these instructions in a printable PDF format. Click here to receive 20 Easy Steps to an ISBN and Your Book’s Metadata in PDF format FREE. You can keep this as a handy reference on your computer. The images are larger in the PDF to make following the instructions easier.