Q:

How do you obtain a free ISBN number?

A:

Quick Answer

Many self-publishing platforms, such as CreateSpace and Smashwords, offer free ISBN numbers to customers who publish through their imprint. A free ISBN number often comes with restrictions on the marketing and distribution of the book, however.

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Full Answer

Bowker is the official ISBN issuing agency for the United States. An ISBN number purchased through Bowker may offer additional advantages over a free ISBN number, including the ability to select the publisher name. Many self-publishers offer customized ISBN numbers that are not free but may be more cost-effective than the Bowker option. Free ISBN numbers are often designed to work well within a particular publishing platform and may restrict other avenues of distribution.

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