1. What is an ISBN?
An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a number that identifies a book, or to be precise, each unique format and edition of a title. Basically, it’s an internationally recognized and regulated code that makes it easier for bookstores, libraries, and distributors to identify, buy, and sell books.
When you buy ISBNs, you can then assign them to titles. That means you enter data about your book into a database. That database then feeds into international databases used by distributors and retailers of books. You are associated with those ISBNs as the publisher of record and you can control how the book is listed, including setting title, author, cover, book description, format, your publishing rights, price, and availability.
Your ISBN is typically listed on your copyright page and on your barcode on the back of the book.
2. Can You Use the Same ISBN for Different Formats of the Same Title?
An ISBN is designed to identify a particular product, so every format of your book needs a different ISBN. If you print a book in hardcover and in paperback, you need a different ISBN for each. Also, if you put out a new edition of your book, you’ll need a new ISBN. Remember that a new edition means that you have significantly changed the content of your book (If you fix a few typos, that doesn’t merit a new edition. So a new edition is a new product and therefore needs a new ISBN.