The Real Cost of Self-Publishing

By Bloomberg Rankings and Nikhil Hutheesing - 2013-02-25T22:14:25Z

Photograph by Jose Luis Gutierrez/Getty Images

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Your Book’s ID

American humans have Social Security numbers, American books have International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs). These are 13-digit unique codes provided by the ISBN agency, Bowker. The code generally goes on the copyright page or is embedded in a bar code on the back cover -- it's a graphic with vertical lines that looks a lot like bar codes on food packages. The ISBN identifies the book as it goes from printer to distributor to wholesaler to retailer or library. If you want to sell a printed book, you need an ISBN.

$125: Cost for one ISBN -- Bowker