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Pew Research On Reader Behavior & Knowing About ISBN Numbers

Image Source: Unsplash - Clay Banks
Image Source: Unsplash - Clay Banks

The Pew Research Center is "a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes, and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis, and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions." According to their research, by far, print books continue to be the preferred format for reading with sixty-five percent of the adults who participated in the survey.

For authors trying to go the traditional publishing route, it is difficult with costs to push out print books as well as keep up with marketing costs. So, how does the self-published author thrive when there is so much to do in getting your work out there? We believe the best way is to go with print-to-order platforms, preferably through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing and Barnes & Noble's Vendor Account. However, before publishing anything on these, it is important to know a couple of things. One, Barnes & Noble requires a business license to use their print-to-order platform. Secondly, Amazon's ISBN numbering system only works for selling on Amazon and does not "translate" onto any other platform, even into bookstores. If you're thinking about ONLY selling on Amazon, you can certainly use their ISBN system and have one freely assigned to you. Yet your book is not going to be recognized by Amazon's assigned ISBN anywhere else.

ISBN means International Standard Book Number. This is how your book is recognized throughout the world. In fact, you'll need an ISBN number for each format of your book (print, digital, audio, etc.). Even in print, for example, should you decide you want your book to have a hardcover after publishing a softcover, you'll need a different ISBN for your hardcover book. Are you starting to see the headache this could cause?

Good News — there is a website for ISBN Services ( that allows you to create a free account and start buying ISBN numbers and Barcodes. We recommend using the "Custom ISBN & Barcode" option. The ISBN number and Barcode (that goes on the back of your book cover) translate across all platforms and bookstores. While you still need to purchase more for additional formats, it helps to keep your books organized and under your name. Because most importantly, you are in control of the account. This means your creative works are safeguarded and you can prove that you maintain the rights to your books. Just remember, once you assign your ISBN to your book, you won't be able to switch it over to another format or another title. And it's best to get this right the first time around.

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