First things first, people, what’s an LCCN?
LCCN: Is a Library of Congress Control Number that is a serially based method of numbering books in the Library of Congress in the United States. CLICK HERE.
What’s an ISBN?
ISBN: International Standard Book Number. An ISBN is a number, not a bar code. The ISBN identifies the title or other book-like product (such as an audiobook) to which it is assigned CLICK HERE.
You will need an LCCN and an ISBN for your books (and you’ll need a separate ISBN for every type of format of your book that you put out there—but no worries, ebook services help you take care of that as you upload your book–as we answer below).
Next question for my bold and fearless contributors:
How did you get your ISBN, LCCN, and copyright? How much did they cost? How long did it take to get after ordering it?
LCCN AND ISBN
CHRISTINE BRYANT: An ISBN costs around $100 and you’ll want one of those as well as an LCCN BARCODE. (*Steph’s note: you can get a free ISBN from Createspace, but we’ll discuss reasons why some authors choose to buy theirs).
JOLENE PERRY: The reason so many people use Amazon is that they do it for you free of cost. Why would you buy your own ISBN instead of getting the free one from Createspace? *Here is the link that talks about Createspace ISBN prices. CLICK HERE.
JEWEL ADAMS: We get the ISBN numbers through Createspace, but we have our own imprint through Bowker. The number costs $10.00 and it takes no more than a couple of days. We also get a Library of Congress number, which is free. It’s good to have because it makes it available for libraries to order.
HEATHER JUSTESEN: You can buy your ISBN direct from CreateSpace or some of the other POD companies, or you can go straight to Bowker and buy there (for Bowker, CLICK HERE.) If you’re going to be using a lot of ISBNs, you can buy a group for far less money direct from Bowker than through POD companies (especially if you think there’s a chance you’ll want to have a larger printing done by another company later), but it’s a bigger initial outlay. I’ve bought mine from CreateSpace for $10 so I can have my imprint name on my books, but I don’t intend to do a large print run with a traditional printing company, so I didn’t need to go with their more expensive option. It’s a matter of what your goals and plans are.
Me: CreateSpace offers ISBN numbers for free, BUT if you want the option to publish paperbacks through a different place (like Alexander’s), you’ll have to buy an ISBN to do that, so that’s why I bought mine for a $100. I bought my own ISBN number because once upon a time, I thought I might make mass copies at Alexander’s and try to sell my books at BYU. I NEVER got around to it because I didn’t have the money to buy mass copies—even to make a gamble that I might get it back in sales. But some people do that.
Also because I bought my own ISBN, I wasn’t eligible for Createspace’s distribution option of making my book available to libraries. Durn.
So, when I self-publish with my mainstream books, I might go for the free ISBN number next time. I don’t see myself selling my books to bookstores anytime soon. Amazon sells my books for me…for now.
I got my LCCN by contacting Createspace’s customer service (you can find that on the Member dashboard). It cost me $49. It took about a week to get it. Super speedy. For some reason I couldn’t get the LCCN through my set-up tab on my account board. No idea why it’s not shown there. But Createspace has excellent customer service. I’ve called and emailed and had good results either way. They never charged me for my constant questions.
What about a copyright? Did you think it was important to buy one or not?
CHRISTINE BRYANT: Anything you write is automatically copyrighted the second you jot it down on paper, but if you want your work registered with the library of congress, you can do that and get an official copyright
HEATHER JUSTESEN: You don’t have to file a copyright to own the copyright. It’s your work from the moment it’s on the page. Most companies do file their books with the copyright office, but you have to wait until you have physical copies of the book, fill out a form, pay the fee and send it with two copies to the office. I’ve never done it myself, but if you’re twitchy about the possibility of someone trying to steal your book, then it’s not a bad idea.
JOLENE PERRY: Going through the library of congress for your copyright used to cost 25 bucks. Not sure if it still is.
ME: Some people feel better about getting an official copyright. If you are one of those people, just order one: CLICK HERE. It is $35 (as of today—could change later). But as the others said, you are copyrighted as soon as you write your book, but the copyright registration gives you a higher level of security if you want to protect your work in a court of law. It’s a public record of authorship. However, you are allowed to use the copyright symbol on your book whether or not you had it officially copyrighted or not (*someone correct me if I’m wrong, but this has been my observation).
Yeah, that was kind of a short post (thank goodness!). Tomorrow in our Indie Guide, we will discuss marketing, distribution, costs, and royalties. So stay tuned!
Jordan McCollum said:
You are allowed (and encouraged!) to use the © regardless of formal registration. The proper form is © YEAR NAME, or © 2012 Jane Doe.
In fact, the law used to be that if you didn’t have notice of copyright, your work was public domain. Ouch! They left it off the Audrey Hepburn/Cary Grant movie Charade (1963) and the film immediately entered the public domain upon its release.
Copyright law in the US went through an overhaul in 1976 (effective 1978), so this isn’t the case anymore. The Copyright Office officially has NOT taken a position on whether notice is necessary on works published after March 1, 1989, but they say including that notice can be beneficial. Also, if you have to sue someone for copyright infringement, if you formally register for copyright within five years of the first publication, that’s good enough for court evidence.
Stephanie Fowers said:
Thank you, Jordan, for sharing that. The Indies’ Guide definitely appreciates the input.
Stanley Walek said:
Most bookstores and libraries won’t buy books from Createspace because of their non return policy. So paying for their Expanded distribution is probably a waste.