I do wish you could look me in the eye and answer this, “When did you last look an ISBN gift horse in the mouth?”

The gift horse I refer to is the imminent launch of BentleySabrine Books. Note the joining of the Bentley and Sabrine. That is to keep the legal bodies in the Philippines happy. Can you believe when I tried to register the business name as “Bentley Sabrine Books” I was informed that the name “Bentley” was reserved? I said, “Yes, but it is my real name. Surely I can use it?”

Anyway, I decided rather than get into all kinds of legal shenanigans it was best to join the two names. After all, Sabrine is the family name of my wife so it is rather apt, don’t you think?

The real nitty gritty of the “gitf horse” is a service to bring you a low cost ISBN provider – us, BentleySabrine Books.

And I mean low cost! The ISBN Gift Horse!

Where is the justification for charging indie authors such a large sum of money for an ISBN from the usual sources? Both Bowker and Neilsen apply around a one hundred percent mark-up!

That Bowker graphic above proves my point. You are unable to purchase a single ISBN from them. They must be bought in a minimum of ten equating to $39.50 per ISBN.

Neilsen in the UK do sell an individual ISBN. Look below –

If you are an indie self-published author, you are also the publisher in theory. In practice, if you publish through CreateSpace for example, they become the publisher of record if you use their free ISBN. That is why you must choose the United States as country of publisher in the drop down menu in the CS Dashboard no matter where you reside. You have not give them any rights as to copyright, only the right to publish on demand (POD).

But… and a big but with that is you are now tied in to CreateSpace and effectively Amazon.

There are huge advantages to having your own ISBN. It gives you complete control and freedom over where and who publishes your work.

Read these articles if you need convincing:

“I would no more omit my ISBN from a book I’ve written than I would take away my name,” asserts indie author and publisher Karen Myers. Here’s why she believes depending on retailers’ own identifiers (ASINs, etc) is a false economy, long term.” – ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors

Read the full article here.

And this one below:

“ALLi Watchdog Giacomo Giammatteo provides an invaluable detailed analysis of the two biggest print service providers for indie authors, Ingram (via its two different subsets, Lightning Source – for publishers of many books – and Ingram Spark – for individual self-publishers) and Amazon’s CreateSpace.” – ALLi Magazine

Read the full article here.

Giacomo Giammatteo, the ALLi Watchdog, also blogged a Part 2 to the above post on his own blog. It is reproduced in part here:

So What Do I Do?

“Long ago I stopped looking at any company or service as good or bad. I look at them with one thing in mind—how can they help me achieve my goals? So instead of saying:

  • CS doesn’t have the best quality.
  • Ingram’s customer service isn’t as good.
  • CS has terrible shipping to AU.
  • Ingram’s distribution and discounts are better.

Instead of saying that, I do the opposite. I use the best from each company. And it works magnificently. Here’s how I do it.

I use CS for Amazon only, as far as distribution goes. That means I do not sign up for expanded distribution when I create a new book.

I use CS for US shipping to readers who order from my website, or for giveaways, or to send review books to bloggers, etc. They really shine in this department. It’s inexpensive and it’s quick.

I use Ingram for all other distribution. That means every book that goes to B&N, or BAM, or Charter Books, or to Libraries, or if they get ordered by bookstores…those books come from Ingram. If I send books to independent bookstores in an effort to get in with them, I use Ingram also. I do this for two reasons: Quality is better; and I don’t want the bookstore to see it came from CS.

I also use Ingram if I have to ship to AU, or UK, or anywhere in the world, except the US. And I use Ingram for an initial order to myself to keep for autographed books. Purchasing through Spark not only refunds your sign-up fee, it gives you an inventory of high-quality books to autograph. After all, the people who ask for autographed books are most likely your best customers. Give them your best material.”

I wholeheartedly agree with all of that. But the problem is you need your own ISBN to follow what he does.

This is a useful and authoritative source of information about ISBNs. Click here to go to the Bowker website.

The reason I point you there is for you to know we are offering a genuine service to provide ISBNs at a low cost. We, BentleySabrine Books, are the publisher. We are based in the Philippines and we obtain our catalog numbers there because that is where we are based and legally registered.

Legally, we cannot resell to you in order to publish yourself. That would be in total contravention of all the rules and would end up causing you no end of difficulties.

So, how do we do it? Simple! You purchase the ISBN or a batch of ISBNs from us. We are now your publisher. You provide the following:

  • A manuscript  properly formatted in PDF format ready to upload to CreateSpace.
  • A CreateSpace ready book cover
  • Book details including author name, title, subtitle and series details if applicable
  • The blurb
  • Categories and keywords

We take care of the rest. We will send you monthly reports on sales and royalty payments. You will be paid royalties within seven days of them being received into our bank account less a 10% admin charge and processing fee which also cushions us against currency exchange rates and fees incurred in sending payments.

The same procedure applies to KDP if you wish to have an ISBN for the eBook version but an ISBN is not necessary for an eBook. It’s an option to use if you wish.

We do not propose as yet to use KDP as our POD partner for paperbacks. We may do in the future and that also applies to Ingram.

Now for the exciting stuff! The ISBN Gift Horse!

We will charge you $35 for one ISBN.

We will of course discount the ISBN prices if you order a batch of ten or more.

How Many ISBNs Do I Need?

If you are going to publish only one book in only one format, the single ISBN will be enough. If you plan to publish more than one book, or to publish a revised edition of the original, or if you are going to publish your book in different formats (such as paperback and e-book), you will need a different ISBN for each version and each format, so ten ISBNs would be more suitable. Unused ISBNs remain valid indefinitely.

The Ultimate ISBN Gift Horse Offer!

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter in the box below. Stay subscribed so you can learn of the launch date of the ISBN service. In that way you will be given a Promo Code at launch to apply to your first order. A massive 50% off the regular price of $35 for a single ISBN.

But hurry as it will be limited to the first 100 new subscribers.

Other Author Services Coming Soon From BentleySabrine Books

  • Formatting of manuscripts from Word into PDF ready uploads for POD
  • Formatting for upload to KDP and D2D  for eBooks
  • Book Cover Design
  • Social Media Graphic Design Service for Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook


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