Making changes to your finished product be it PDF or ePUB

In the past, redoing a book was a huge, expensive project. These days, not so much.  With ebooks one is tempted to tweak endlessly. But there are conditions under which changing your ebook means your ebook must have a new ISBN (if you’ve used an ISBN).

You can check out the Bowker or Library of Congress websites but in a nutshell . . .

Keep your ISBN if you publish your PDF ebook, sell 6 copies, and then decide to

  • change the cover
  • fix some typos
  • do some light editing

Change your ISBN if you publish your PDF ebook, sell 6 copies, and then decide to

  • change the title (or author’s name)
  • change the story (aka a new edition)
  • bring the book out in a different language!

The guideline we’ve heard bandied about is if you substantially change your book, 15% or more, it’s a new book. So, if you write 80,000 words and change 12,000 . . . .

The reason for this change of ISBNs is to make sure that readers know what they are buying and sellers know what they are selling. This is especially true if your books are wildly popular.

You want your readers to have the newest version, and your collectors to have your early goofs!

If all versions of the Mona Lisa had the same ISBN, how would you know which one you were buying?

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Published in: on September 14, 2011 at 7:07 AM  Leave a Comment  
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