Friday, November 6, 2009

Reviewer's Tip - Bar Code and ISBN

This week's tip is a simple one - if you want to sell your book in traditional venues such as bookstores, include both an ISBN and bar code.  

If you're writing a memoir to be shared with family members, then getting an ISBN and bar code is not important.  If you plan on sharing your book with those you know and selling it via the trunk of your car, then again, you don't need these two items.  Unfortunately, we get a lot of books from authors who hope to sell their books on, Barnes &, as well as bookstores.  These places need, indeed require, both an ISBN and bar code.

An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is assigned by R.R. Bowker.  Visit their website at for more information.  DO NOT go to another company that offers to sell you just one ISBN (these numbers are normally sold in 10s, 100s, 1000s).  Buying from another company will probably mean that that company's identification will go along with the ISBN.  What's wrong with that, you ask?  Well, if somebody wants to buy your book and searches on the ISBN, they'll be led to that company, not to you/your company.  Go to Bowker.

Bar codes are easy to get and lots of companies offer them.  They're inexpensive (you should pay less than $25.) and typically should only take a day or two to obtain (I usually get mine the same day).  I've used Film Masters in Ohio (330-334-1302).  Ask for Kathy - she's very helpful  Or, search the net for another company that looks good to you.  Again, a bar code is easy to get and your book should have one if you want to sell it outside of your small circle of family and friends.

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