So you labored over your novel and produced a 100,000 word work of art. What’s next? Editing… check…. Editing… Check Check… and just to be sure… Editing! Perfect, now the content is ready for Cover Art and Distribution.

But how is the work of art to be distributed. Well Amazon has the Createspace tool. That’s easy enough, isn’t it?

True Amazon has provided the means to create an eBook and they will give you an ASIN as they do not require you to use an ISBN if you use their Createspace product. What will you be left with. In fact, you will have an eBook that can be sold anywhere on Amazon that your rights permit you to sell.

Can you take that singular product and sell it on Barnes and Nobel or other mediums for distribution? That answer unfortunately is no.

What is an ASIN you ask?

As ASIN is an Amazon Standard Identification Number. In other words its Amazon’s sku… a unique number for Amazon to locate the product within its databases. Each product sold on Amazon is given an ASIN. If your book has a 10digit ISBN (traditionally bound) then the ASIN and the ISBN could be the same.

If you have an eBook with a 13digit ISBN that also does not have a print edition, Amazon will usually only display the ASIN.

So why use an ISBN?

What is an ISBN?

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors. The ISBN Agency assigns ISBNs at the direct request of publishers, e-book publishers, audio cassette and video producers, software producers and museums and associations with publishing programs. Bowker is the Official ISBN Agency for the United States. The ISBN will establish and identify one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition. The ISBN, coupled with a descriptive meta-data record, ensures that information needed to make a level purchasing decision is communicated to the consumer accurately and reliably, particularly in cases where the same product or format is available for purchase on multiple channels. In the digital supply chain, most major search engines, e-tailers, library web sites, social network applications, mobile phones and other entities cataloging information about books continue to leverage the ISBN as a cataloging mechanism and to search-optimize such information for consumer discovery. The Internet has enabled an entire new paradigm of book discovery, whereby consumers can directly research and purchase books, perform price comparisons across multiple different sales vendors or channels and even download partial components of the books they seek on a preview basis. For e-books, the ISBN and a descriptive meta-data record can be utilized to communicate format-specific information such as compatibility features, accessibility and/or usage rights to specific versions of a product. This is particularly important for e-book formats that are available for discovery and sale on multiple channels, including and not limited to e-book retail web sites, within online library catalogues and search engines. While today, many e-book retailers and their respective business models are focused within single channels or a host of channels that are proprietary to their businesses, Bowker believes that it is inevitable that in order to maximize their marketing efforts, sales and distribution opportunities, many publishers will make their books available as e-books in numerous formats sold on multiple channels, similar to their traditional hardcover/soft-cover distribution and retail strategies.  Bowker 2010

If you create your eBook outside of using the Createspace tool, Amazon and others will require you to have an ISBN for your eBook. By converting your eBook professionally to the ePub and other formats you will be able to easily upload to other distribution sites with next to no additional financial output without being locked into a singular site. Barnes and Nobel along with Apple also welcome authors and small presses with professionally represented eBooks i.e. ePub conversion and ISBN number.

Think about the big picture and how you would like to position your book in the long-term.  Most readers resources use the ISBN to list your book. Make the marketing of your product that much easier by doing research to situate your content in the best position possible.