What’s the deal with ISBN barcodes?
If you’re a book cover designer or indie author designing your own book cover, you may need to make a barcode from your ISBN. These aren’t the same things, and some places will charge a lot for both an ISBN, and the graphic-image barcode that you add to your book cover design.
The barcode is the thing a bookstore would scan for pricing information. *If* you want to sell your paperbacks in bookstores, you’ll need one – and most bookstores want a price embedded. However, *most* indie authors sell books online and so it isn’t actually that important.
If you’re publishing with KDP print (Amazon), you can get a free ISBN number, and they will automatically generate and add a barcode to your book cover design, if you just leave space on the back. You *can* also pay extra for a unique ISBN, and make your own barcode with a price embedded, you just don’t really need to.
If you get a free one from KDP, you can’t use it elsewhere. Some will say, if anyone (or a bookstore!) looks up your ISBN and sees it’s from Amazon, they won’t buy it; but most of your sales will probably come from readers and you can tweak your Amazon page with a publishing imprint (any name you want) anyway.
I try to help authors make publishing cheaper and easier, because everybody else is trying to get them to make it harder and more expensive (most info and publishing content on the internet is trying to steer you towards a purchase; I mostly do the opposite).
In fact, I care so much about saving you money, I’ve spent thousands of dollars maintaining a totally free ISBN barcode generator that’s more robust than any other. It breaks sometimes and I pay to fix it, even though it costs a lot to keep running because of the high demand and traffic.
It’s on my cover design site, and I’ll keep it running as long as I can. All I ask is you check out some of my free publishing and book marketing guides SO THAT you can save even more money and avoid scams and mistakes.
(If you like this free and simple online tool you can use to generate high-resolution, print ready barcodes for your book cover… you’ll be amazed at all the other cool and useful things I’ve made for you.)