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International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

An ISBN,  or International Standard Book Number, is a unique number that is assigned to every published book. An ISBN identifies a book's edition, publisher, and physical properties like trim size, page count, and binding type. An ISBN allows retailers, libraries, and distributors to efficiently search for books. On KDP, you do not need an ISBN to publish an eBook, but you need an ISBN to publish a paperback.

An ISBN isn't required to publish an eBook with KDP. Once your content is published on KDP, Amazon will assign it a 10-digit ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), which is unique to the eBook, and is an identification number for the Kindle eBook on Amazon.

If you already have an ISBN for your eBook, you'll be able to enter it during title setup.

Important: Do not use an ISBN from a print version of your book; eBook ISBNs must be unique to eBook versions.


ISBN for Paperbacks

An ISBN is required to publish your paperback. All ISBNs assigned after 2007 are 13 digits. You can choose to use a free ISBN from KDP or to provide your own. The free ISBN from KDP can only be used on KDP for distribution to Amazon and its distributors. It cannot be used with another publisher or self-publishing service. If you use your own ISBN to publish your paperback, you can use that ISBN to publish your book elsewhere.

Note: The ISBN in your paperback's interior and cover files must match the ISBN entered during title setup.


How to get a free ISBN from KDP

During title setup, you’ll be prompted to include an ISBN. At this point, you can select to have free KDP ISBN assigned to your book. We'll also automatically register your ISBN information with Bowker, the US ISBN agency. 

To get a Free KDP ISBN for your paperback:

  1. Sign in: http://kdp.amazon.com.
  2. On your Bookshelf, next to the book you want to update, click the ellipsis ("…") under Paperback Actions.
  3. Select Edit Paperback Content.
  4. In the Print ISBN section, select Get a free KDP ISBN.
  5. Click Assign me a free KDP ISBN.

How to use your own ISBN

You can buy an ISBN from Bowker or through your local ISBN agency. ISBNs purchased from Bowker can be used to publish titles in any language. KDP authors can buy an ISBN at a discounted rate from Bowker.

To use your own ISBN for your paperback:

  1. Sign in: http://kdp.amazon.com.
  2. On your Bookshelf, next to the book you want to update, click the ellipsis ("…") under Paperback Actions.
  3. Select Edit Paperback Content.
  4. In the Print ISBN section, select Use my own ISBN.
  5. Enter your own ISBN and Imprint in the fields provided. 

What is an Imprint?

An imprint is a trade name that publishing companies use to publish a work. A single publishing company may have multiple imprints to identify a specific line of books. If you use your own ISBN, KDP will check whether your book's imprint matches what's on file with Bowker. You will not be able to publish your book if there is a mismatch. If you use a free ISBN from KDP, we will automatically assign “Independently Published” to the imprint field.


Compare using KDP ISBN or your own ISBN

See the difference between the two ISBN options you have in KDP:

ISBN optionsCostPublishingImprintPublisher field in the Book’s detail pageRequirements
KDP Free ISBNFreeOnly with KDPAutomatically registered as “Independently published” in BowkerIt will show imprint name “Independently published”.We’ll register your free ISBN, so no further requirements are needed from your end.
Your own ISBNYou cover the cost of the ISBNYou can publish outside of KDPRegister your own imprint with Bowker or local ISBN agencyIt will show the imprint name you enter to publish your book.When entering your paperback’s details ensure the information you are providing matches with the information you’ve registered in Bowker. You won’t be able to publish your book if there are any mismatches between this information.

View your ISBN

If you have already have an ISBN registered to your book, you’ll be able to see it from your bookshelf.
 
To view your registered ISBN:
  
  • For eBooks:
    1. Go to your Bookshelf next to the book with the ISBN, click the ellipsis ("…") under Kindle eBook Actions.
    2. Select Edit eBook Content.
    3. Scroll down to the Kindle eBook ISBN section to see the ISBN you’ve assigned.

  • For paperbacks:
    1. Go to your Bookshelf next to the book with the ISBN, click the ellipsis ("…") under Kindle Paperback Actions.
    2. Select Edit Paperback Content.
    3. Scroll down to the Print ISBN section to see the ISBN assigned.

Change your ISBN

You cannot change your ISBN after your book is published.
 
If you have an ISBN assigned to a book that was never published, you can remove the ISBN from it and use the ISBN in a new book.
 
To remove an ISBN from an unpublished book in KDP:

  

  • For eBooks:
    1. Go to your Bookshelf next to the book with the ISBN, click the ellipsis ("…") under Kindle eBook Actions.
    2. Select Edit eBook Content.
    3. Clear the ISBN field. Remember that an ISBN is not required for eBooks. 

  • For paperbacks:
    1. Go to your Bookshelf next to the book with the ISBN, click the ellipsis ("…") under Kindle Paperback Actions.
    2. Select Edit Paperback Content.
    3. Under the Print ISBN section - click on Assign me a free KDP ISBN.
    4. Save the change.
    5. Re-enter the ISBN in the book you want to use your ISBN.
If you have already published your book and still need to change your ISBN, you’ll need to unpublish your paperback from your Bookshelf, and then republish it using your new ISBN. You can use a free KDP Print ISBN, or buy a new one from Bowker. Learn more about Unpublishing and Deleting Books.
 
If you are reprinting your book, the title, author name, and binding type must stay the same. A new edition requires a new ISBN.


Re-using an ISBN from outside of KDP

You can re-use an ISBN for a paperback that was previously published outside of KDP. You'll need to be the owner of that ISBN, and all content in the book should be the same. Check with your previous publisher to verify ownership of the ISBN you want to re-use.
 
If you don’t own the ISBN or the content of the book has been updated to be considered a new edition, you will need to use a new ISBN.


Troubleshooting


Error message saying information doesn’t match

If you use your own ISBN to publish your paperback, you’ll need to ensure your book details such as the ISBN, imprint name, title, and author entered in KDP match the imprint or publisher name registered to the ISBN in Bowker. If there is an error message when adding your information make sure the spelling, spacing, and punctuation exactly matches the information in Bowker.

Note: If you see an error message asking you to fix the highlighted error to continue and there is nothing highlighted in the page, it’s usually related to mismatching information for both, title and imprint.
 
To fix any mismatch error:
   
  1. Go to Bowker's website. This is not an Amazon website. You will need to contact Bowker and/or myidentifiers.com if you have questions about ISBN metadata.
  2. Verify the imprint name, title, and author associated with your ISBN.
  3. Go to your Bookshelf.
  4. Click the ellipsis button (“…”) under Paperback Actions next to the book you want to update.
  5. Click Edit Paperback Content.
  6. Update your ISBN and imprint name options as needed. Your ISBN information must match what is provided on myidentifiers.com . To ensure you are providing the most accurate information you can copy the imprint name from the myidentifiers.com website and paste it into your title setup on KDP.
  7. Be sure to update your interior and cover files to match any recent ISBN changes.

Error on KDP after updating my information on Bowker

If you make updates to your ISBN on Bowker, it can take up to five business days for the changes on Bowker to register on KDP. After this timeline, you should be able to save the information on KDP and to move forward with publishing your book.
   

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