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Getting an ISBN in Canada



If you're Canadian DO NOT purchase an ISBN. In Canada ISBN's are free to obtain. We often get confused with our author friends in the states who purchase their ISBN's through Bowker.


What is an ISBN?


An ISBN is a numerical code that bookstores, libraries and online selling platforms use to identify your book. The IBSN identifies the publisher as well as the edition, title and format. If you ever want to sell your book commercially, you will need an ISBN. Luckily, it's really easy to get one!


Erin, I get what an ISBN is and I know that's it's free... but where do I get it?


  1. First, go to this link to set up an account with the Library of Canada. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/services/isbn-canada/Pages/create-account-isbn-canada.aspx

  2. Once your account has been set-up, you will receive an e-mail from the library of Canada. This e-mail will contain a username and password to officially log in. Here is the login link. https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/ciss-ssci/app/index.php?&lang=eng

  3. Once you log-in, you'll want to go to the "manage logbook" button on the left side of the webpage. Manage logbook is where you can request for an ISBN. After filling out some info about your book, you'll shortly receive your ISBN.

Where do I put my ISBN?


You'll want to put your ISBN on the copyright page. The copyright page is the first page of your book. Alternatively your copyright page can be on the inside cover. It's important that you list every ISBN that your book has. For example, soft cover, hardcover, e-books and language translations should all have their own separate ISBN.


Your ISBN should also be a part of the barcode. I'll get into barcodes in a separate blog post. Let's not steal the show from the ISBN's here.


In summary


  • If you live in Canada, ISBN's are free

  • Get your ISBN through the Library of Archives Canada website

  • Every edition of the book needs it's own ISBN

  • List all ISBN's on the copyright page


Good luck to all of you incredible, inspiring and talented self-publishers! Happy publishing!


#publishing #CanadianISBN #ISBN #selfpublishing



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