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Bowker ISBN numbers better to buy then Lulu"s ISBN?

It's been 3 years since I published my last book and I see a lot has changed. Just really need some good advice on whether to buy Bowker's ISBN numbers or use Lulu's ISBN for my print book. I see that each ISBN on Bowkers is $125 a piece and an extra $25 for the barcode? Am I reading that correctly? Shouldn't the barcode come with that price? Lulu charges $19 but when reading the fine print, Lulu gets royalties off that book for the life of the book and with Bowker's I'm understanding that you own it totally? I'm also publishing in ebook form and Bookbaby is still the best? I'm not sure how to convert my book into epub and they've done a great job on the other two!

Thanks for anything you can give me!

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Hi Marina!

I use Draft2Digital to convert my Word docx into both .mobi and .epub. It's easy to do, costs nothing and comes out beautifully. The one caveat is they don't support individual styles as fonts are stripped out and Garamond put in. Saves on buying fonts, I imagine, which gets pricey when you have to buy a license for each book published. I can live with that. Anyway, you can use your files anywhere you want to. It's all free. And you don't have to publish your books through them.

Unlike Smashwords where you have to style your book to their rules and the files stay there. You can't take them away and say, put them up on Amazon or some other place. Best thing of SW, is that once you figure out how to do style your book, you can use whatever fonts you like and have the commercial license for. But for me, that's not a big enough reason for me to go through them.

As for ISBNs, I have a block of ten which I'm using for my novels. If I decide to do print books, I'll buy ten more, because I formed my own publishing entity for this. I don't want Lulu or Createspace or anyone else to be the publisher on record for my novels. For my short stories, I accepted D2D's free ISBN as I don't care as much about that for those. I offer them free. I do put my publishing company's name on the copyright page anyway. They say we can. :)

Lulu will get a percentage of your royalties as long as you stay with them just like Amazon takes a cut of royalties. If you take your book elsewhere and leave off working with them, you'll have to get another ISBN. It won't go with you. It's the same wherever you go. I can't take my free ISBN elsewhere if I leave D2D. But as I used my own for my novels, I can go anywhere with them.

With Bowker, I can get a block of ten for reasonable - like around $295. Just two separate ISBNs is $250.

Over at Publisher Services, you can get a self publisher package for $55. Ebook numbers for $28, but then THEY are the publisher on record. Don't know if they take a percentage of your royalties. I forgot to ask that as I did a live chat. Apparently, they put Independent Publisher as the publisher on record, so it could appear to be you, but in reality it's them. They offer a Publisher package which is the same as getting a number from Bowker and you are the publisher on record with that.

So, it all depends on what you want and care about. If you're doing just the one book and are happy with LuLu's services, you don't have a publishing entity of your own, and don't mind them being the publisher on record for your book, then go with theirs as it's cheaper than Bowker's $125 or Publisher Services Self Publisher number.

But if it does matter to you, and you want your author/publishing name to be the one on record, think of the $125 as an investment.

Hope this was of some help to you!


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