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ISBN, Copyright, and Barcodes

What is an ISBN?

ISBN or International Standard Book Number is a unique number assigned to a book necessary for the book to be commercially identified, published, and distributed. ISBNs are generated for each variation and edition including ebook or audiobook. Therefore, an ISBN is just an identification number required if you intend to sell your published book in commercial settings or through a distributor. It is often recommended to be bought in bulk for use on other versions you may publish.


What is Copyright?

Copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to make copies of a creative work, usually for a limited time. 

What is an ISBN Barcode?

An ISBN barcode is the barcode at the book's bottom right-hand corner to be scanned so that books may be sold and that sale be noted and accounted for in their systems. It is required by most book retailers such as Barnes and Noble.  While the assignment of unique ISBN numbers to each title is often a requirement for selling your titles through major retailers, the Bookland EAN symbol is the most widely used barcode format in the publishing industry as it encodes the ISBN number and can also include the price. 


So how do you get an ISBN, Copyright, and Barcodes?

Some printers, distributors, or servicers may provide these for you as part of your package. Singularity Press does not, but we will guide you toward printers and distributors who will, or below are how you can purchase them yourself.


  • ISBN and Barcodes: In the United States, you can obtain your ISBN numbers and barcodes from the Bowker Agency. It rarely makes sense to purchase a single ISBN. A single ISBN would cost you $125, but a bulk of 10 only costs $295. Buying a single ISBN might seem feasible if you only want to publish one title, but remember that you need an ISBN for each format. Barcodes are $25 each and can be saved for future use, but you need to first know the sale price for your book.

  • Copyright:To register a book or other creative work for copyright, simply go to, the website set up by the Library of Congress. There is an online portal to register copyrights for  written works. Fill out the form, pay the fee and you are registered. According to the website "The standard filing fee for electronic registration is $65 for basic claims. However, the filing fee is $45 if you register one work, not made for hire, and you are the only author and claimant."

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