Do I really need an ISBN?

Not necessarily. An ISBN isn't a legal requirement. It's a product code which doesn't affect an author's copyright, or the ability to retain control over all aspects of their work (from design and page-layout to printing and marketing).

However, although an ISBN might not be a legal requirement, it is a desirable commodity. Having an ISBN means customers can order your book from most book retailers. Information about your title and a cover image is listed by Nielsen Bookdata and made available to booksellers in 100 countries worldwide. When you see your book listed with online retailers like Amazon, Waterstones or Borders, it's because they've subscribed to Nielsen Bookdata and use Nielsen's data to 'stock' their online bookstore.

  • Online retailers (including and other major bookselling chains require an ISBN for internal processing, stock control and ordering.
  • An ISBN can also be a helpful marketing tool that may help sales - bibliographic databases derive information from ISBN lists, passing on that information to libraries and booksellers around the world.
  • An ISBN establishes the 'publisher of record' so with a SilverWood ISBN, SilverWood is your publisher. We subscribe to Nielsen Enhanced Data Listing which means we ensure Nielsen (and thus the book trade) has reliable and up to date information beyond the basic listing of title, author name, ISBN and price; potential buyers can also see a cover image, full synopsis, detailed author biography, table of contents, reviews, awards, and promotional information. As part of our paid subscription, we have continued access to this catalogue listing so that we can add to it as new reviews come in for your book. In addition, SilverWood's good reputation in the trade can help when you approach bookshops.

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“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins