ISBNs: An Explainer And How To Publish With Platypus Publishing

When you publish your book on Amazon, each edition gets its own ISBN. In the program I recommend publishing two editions — one Kindle edition (digital) and one paperback edition (physical). 

ISBN stands for ‘International Standard Book Number,’ so whether you publish in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, or any country in between — you shouldn’t run into any roadblocks! Publishing on Amazon will also be identical in all English-speaking countries.

Amazon will assign you one for free if you do not assign your own ISBN.

However, that means that your paperback edition will say “Independently Published.” There is no option to write your own imprint name, because paperback books are cross-referenced with the official international ISBN database.

Digital books, however, are not cross-referenced with the database — because they are only sold online and don’t have barcodes to scan (ISBNs are really just to match barcodes to the database).

Since digital books are not cross-referenced, Amazon allows you to choose your imprint name (write it in yourself) even if you use their free ISBN. Please note that if you choose to upload to IngramSpark instead of Amazon, they will not provide you with a free ISBN for your ebook.

As part of the package you purchased, I offer a free ISBN for your paperback edition. It comes from my company, so if you choose to use it — your book will say “published by Platypus Publishing.” However, you still retain 100% creative and financial rights to your book.

If you would like to have a different publishing company name (for example, your own), you will have to purchase your own ISBN. You can do so at They cost $125 each if you don’t buy them in bulk.

Since we at Platypus buy them in bulk, they only cost us $5.75 each. We cannot guarantee you any extra ISBNs besides the one that is included with your purchase, but we are happy to consider providing you with extras at cost ($5.75 each) if you so choose.

To be clear: This is all VERY MINOR and will have almost no impact on your success. Using my imprint’s name (or your own) gives a minuscule advantage in “social proof,” in that every once in a while, someone might see “independently published” and take your book ever-so-slightly less seriously. But it doesn’t really matter.

My book was “independently published” for years and it made almost no different.

What To Do If You DON'T Want To Publish With Platypus

Publishing under the Platypus name is a bonus offered with the program — but this is completely optional! If you don’t want to do this, you don’t have to. 

If you don't publish with Platypus, you can let Amazon assign you a free ISBN number, but it will say that you're "independently published." Alternatively, you can buy an ISBN number from Bowker ($125 USD when buying a single one).

If you choose to buy your own ISBN number, I recommend creating a professional-sounding company name (and optionally, a logo). I don't recommend using your personal name as the company name, as it sounds less professional to readers.

Regardless of if you publish under the Platypus imprint, you still receive all of the other bonuses included with your purchase! The decision is totally up to you.

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