E-book and Self-publishing – Print or E-version or both? ISBN’s..

As a writer of any genre, the purpose is commonly to share what you have written with others.   Now you have to decide how wide do you want your target audience to be.

If you have been reading my series of blogs on the subject so far and have a book ready to market you should already have your headline and identified your unique selling point.  What is different about your book that is going to make readers, particularly those already familiar with the subject buy and read it?

If your book is intended free for a small circle of friends and family then you have it covered. You can produce as a pdf – without an ISBN number (see later in the blog) and then you can notify your target audience by email, perhaps a link on Facebook or LinkedIn or on a writing group you belong to. Then attach and send by email.

But, if you are looking for a wider audience then you will need to invest a great deal of time and some money to get your book noticed.  You also need to do some paperwork!

Print or E-versions.  E-versions are great – accessible all over the world, no post and packaging and in the last couple of years become hugely popular.  Review copies can be sent for publicity purposes and most major newspapers now have digital editions as well and are getting on board with the change.

The majority of well known authors are Print/digital – a little like cinema releases going to video after a certain time, it used to be more back titles going to digital, piggy backing on the release of a new print edition. That is going to change rapidly with simultaneous releases to maximise sales.  Less people are buying the hardbacks (unless of course they are by Wilbur Smith in which case I make an exception to add to my collection) there are still millions of readers out there who would rather have a paperback than E-version. But the publishing industry is changing and evolving and whilst there will always be a market for certain printed books across the genres, it is fairly certain that the E-versions are here to stay and even now their sales on Amazon outdo print.

At the moment I have left my early books in print – current ones are small print run but with a major push on the E-versions.  For the first time it is practical to market internationally – no post and packaging for big books and immediate purchase of download  – and that is a key fact to having E-versions.  However,  I still have print copies for sale on Amazon and have sent out as preview copies – simply because when you are competing with millions of titles – especially with regard to E-books, sometimes a big fat book landing on your desk, gets your attention!

This is a decision you need to make for yourselves – if you have paid to have your book formatted you are almost good to go but if you are going to sell through the commercial channels at home or abroad you are going to need an ISBN.

I am not going to go into great detail on the subject of ISBN numbers since the official site answers most questions very well. Suffice to say that you need a separate ISBN for print and E-versions of the same book – and there is a cost for them.  Here are some useful links and for further information I suggest some of the blogs on wordpress.com on E-books.



United States  http://www.isbn.org/faqs_general_questions

Once you are published with your ISBN you can submit your book print and E-version for sale on Amazon and other online bookstores. Printed copies in the UK have to be legally deposited with a number of libraries such as the British Library and this now includes E-books and websites. Here the link to the British Library deposit information…


Do not lose heart – you have poured body and soul into your book and if it is to reach and touch readers everywhere it is necessary to jump through a view hoops..

More in a couple of days –



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