Getting ISBN for coil bound book sold on Lulu only

I'm looking at publishing a coil-bound book on Lulu.  I realize this means it can't be distributed on Amazon etc.  I understand I don't need a barcode for this, and see that if I use the one-piece cover designer, I can generate a cover with no barcode.  But, if I use one of the other cover tools, I do get a barcode.  Is that a number I could use in my own cover if I chose?  Even though I don't necessarily need the barcode, I might want one anyhow just in case I want to sell the book through other channels myself, and don't mind if it's a Lulu-generated code.

 

So, can I go to the regular cover wizard, copy the number I see there, generate my own barcode using that number, and insert this into my one-piece PDF?

Comments

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    When you don't have a ISBN the number and generated barcode is basically the Project ID; meaning there is no need to put it in your PDF.


    marc_sabatella wrote:

    I'm looking at publishing a coil-bound book on Lulu.  I realize this means it can't be distributed on Amazon etc.  I understand I don't need a barcode for this, and see that if I use the one-piece cover designer, I can generate a cover with no barcode.  But, if I use one of the other cover tools, I do get a barcode.  Is that a number I could use in my own cover if I chose?  Even though I don't necessarily need the barcode, I might want one anyhow just in case I want to sell the book through other channels myself, and don't mind if it's a Lulu-generated code.

     

    So, can I go to the regular cover wizard, copy the number I see there, generate my own barcode using that number, and insert this into my one-piece PDF?


     

  • Hmm, that doesn't seem to be the case for me.  My project ID does not seem at all related to the number on the barcode that gets generated when I use the wizard.

     

    My impression is the generated barcode is for a Lulu-owned ISBN number and could still potentially be used for point-of-sales scanner if I were to take my printed, coil-bound book and try to set up some distrubtion myself (I have a few I have worked with in the past who I know would carry it).  if it's truly not useful at all, I won't worry about it, but my sense is that it should be.

  • One other bit of info:

    I notice that when I select Coil as my binding, the ISBN tab disappears from Content Creation Wizard after completing the next step. So I'm never given the choice to use my own ISBN or have Lulu generate one But when I get to the Cover Wizard/Designer, it *does* show a barcode - one that doesn't really seem to be for an ISBN.

    However, if I select a more standard binding type, then I do get the ISBN tab, I get the option to have Lulu generate an ISBN, and if I choose that option, it does generate one for me and let me download it. When I get to the Cover stage, this is indeed the number that is used for the generated barcode - but it's totally different in format from the barcode that is generated if I choose coil.

    So it seems if I choose coil binding, Lulu won't actually generate an ISBN but does generate a barcode based on something else - not the project ID, not sure what it is actually. Still would like to understand what that number is and if there is any point at all in my including it in my one one-piece cover.

    I'm using the one-piece cover option, btw, because it seems the only way to be able to use a PDF, which is the easiest for me to generate. I guess I could circumvent this by going ahead and generating a PNG so I can use the Cover Wizard instead, and then I'd get the automatic barcode. But I still would want to know what that number really is.
  • ISBNs are used for distribution purposes. When a book store wishes to order copies of a book they contact the distributor and quote the ISBN. The only books that go into distribution are the ones that the distributors wish to receive, and coil bound books are not one of them.

     

    I honestly cannot see how you can set up a distribution channel, or even contact distributors directly to take on your book. You might sell a few books directly to a book store, but that is not distributing; there is a huge difference. Why not just forget about printing the bar code. What use is it going to be anyway?

  • The number you see for a cover without an ISBN (usually something like 580000XXXXX) is a number added to the barcode, but only ever used by our printers when packaging the book, if at all.

    The cover wizard was originally coded to always include a barcode/ISBN, as at the time was built the developers assumed all authors would use ISBNs for all books. As that is no longer the case, the barcode has to have some number.

    If you apply an ISBN - only an option for distribution eligible books - that number will appear on the barcode. Otherwise the number will be an internally assigned number.

    For a one-piece cover, if you're setting up your own distribution, I would encourage generating a barcode and number combo that works for your system and add that to the cover. Using a PNG to get our barcode works too, and I see no reason a barcode reader couldn't have that number assigned so it is recognizable, though this number is not comparable to an ISBN.

  • Thanks, good information here!

     

    FWIW, there really *is* such thing as distribution of coil bound books - it's extremely common in the music and education industries.  It's not just individually putting in stores, it's selling through various online retailers as well as stores (with product placed there by the distributor, not be the author), and probably at least half the titles in some of these markets end up being coil bound so they can lay flat.  This also includes Amazon, who *does* carry coil editions but not through a POD services like Lulu - only through direct agreement with publisher / sellers.

     

    So, with that in mind, I still *think* I'd like to have a barcode that can uniquely identify my book and allow retailers to scan it for pricing / inventory purposes if they so desire.  I'm happy to use the one from the cover designer, now that I know what it is.

     

    But now I'm wondering one more thing.  I understand that the Lulu-assigned ISBN is only for "distribution eligible" books.  But, would it work and be considered acceptabled to generate a "fake" version of the book that is perfect bound, get a Lulu-assigned ISBN for that, then not actually sell that version but instead take the barcode and apply it to my coil-bound version?  I mean, I can actually *do* this, but I don't know if some system somewhere will reject the ISBN because it is applied to a coil-bound book, or if it violates the usage terms with Lulu.

     

    When I look at the coil-bound music and textbooks books on my shelf, I see some have an ISBN and some don't, some have barcodes and some don't.  For those that have both an ISBN and a barcode, sometimes they match, sometimes they don't.  Interesting state of affairs!

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    The ISBN encoding registers format (size), title, author[s], as well as publisher. In the case of a coil-bound using the ISBN for a perfect-bound edition it would likely be seen as misrepresentation.

     

    You can purchase the ISBN (including barcode) outside of Lulu and use that, but I'm not sure how or with whom you would register the format and etc.


    marc_sabatella wrote:

    Thanks, good information here!

     

    FWIW, there really *is* such thing as distribution of coil bound books - it's extremely common in the music and education industries.  It's not just individually putting in stores, it's selling through various online retailers as well as stores (with product placed there by the distributor, not be the author), and probably at least half the titles in some of these markets end up being coil bound so they can lay flat.  This also includes Amazon, who *does* carry coil editions but not through a POD services like Lulu - only through direct agreement with publisher / sellers.

     

    So, with that in mind, I still *think* I'd like to have a barcode that can uniquely identify my book and allow retailers to scan it for pricing / inventory purposes if they so desire.  I'm happy to use the one from the cover designer, now that I know what it is.

     

    But now I'm wondering one more thing.  I understand that the Lulu-assigned ISBN is only for "distribution eligible" books.  But, would it work and be considered acceptabled to generate a "fake" version of the book that is perfect bound, get a Lulu-assigned ISBN for that, then not actually sell that version but instead take the barcode and apply it to my coil-bound version?  I mean, I can actually *do* this, but I don't know if some system somewhere will reject the ISBN because it is applied to a coil-bound book, or if it violates the usage terms with Lulu.

     

    When I look at the coil-bound music and textbooks books on my shelf, I see some have an ISBN and some don't, some have barcodes and some don't.  For those that have both an ISBN and a barcode, sometimes they match, sometimes they don't.  Interesting state of affairs!


     

  • You would be violating Lulu's terms and conditions, for a start,
    because Lulu does not provide ISBNs for coil bound books. The numbers
    within an ISBN have a specific meaning, telling the purchasing agency
    whether the book is hardback, paperback, etc etc. Some might not

    appreciate being hoodwinking in this way.

    If you really believe that you are going to be able to sell so many
    coil bound books that it justifies the effort I would suggest that
    you purchase your own ISBN.

  • This (ISBN encoding format info) does seem plausible, but it doesn't really agree with what I read, for example, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Standard_Book_Number or here: https://isbn-information.com/the-13-digit-isbn.html. No mention of any specific encoding of format info - just an admonishment that each format needs a unique ISBN (which I already knew).  So if I *did* want to eventually sell the perfect-bound version as well, it should have a *different* ISBN from the dummy one I am proposing to use.

     

    But I can easily believe Lulu would simply say this is not acceptable to them, in which case I'll certainly drop the idea of using a Lulu-assigned ISBN.  In which case, though, I'm still torn between using the non-ISBN barcode generated using the cover designer versus purchasing my own ISBN versus foregoing a barcode complete;ly.  I'm still trying to understand my options and what the tradeoffs actually are.

     

    it is really interesting to me seeing the different ways this is handled by other similar music / textbooks.  One other aspect I didn't mention - quite a few have no preprinted barcode but have it applied as a sticker.  So simply designing the cover with a placeholder could be a decent plan for now.  I would just make sure not to include an ISBN within the text of the book.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    In the publishing process with Lulu, you choose size, format, binding, record author[s] name, etc.

     

    When you get a Lulu ISBN as part of the publishing process, Lulu records the information then sends that information along with the ISBN out to Ingram. The encoding part is called a database of registered numbers.

     

    Whatever self-publisher you use, if you use the ISBN certain information is recorded and sent to Ingram. There's a catalogue with every assigned ISBN, including the information for each published work represented.

     

    Using the ISBN for a publication in one format for a publication in another format would legally be considered misrepresentation at best, and could be considered intent to commit fraud at worst.


    marc_sabatella wrote:

    This (ISBN encoding format info) does seem plausible, but it doesn't really agree with what I read, for example, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Standard_Book_Number or here: https://isbn-information.com/the-13-digit-isbn.html. No mention of any specific encoding of format info - just an admonishment that each format needs a unique ISBN (which I already knew).  So if I *did* want to eventually sell the perfect-bound version as well, it should have a *different* ISBN from the dummy one I am proposing to use.

     

    But I can easily believe Lulu would simply say this is not acceptable to them, in which case I'll certainly drop the idea of using a Lulu-assigned ISBN.  In which case, though, I'm still torn between using the non-ISBN barcode generated using the cover designer versus purchasing my own ISBN versus foregoing a barcode complete;ly.  I'm still trying to understand my options and what the tradeoffs actually are.

     

    it is really interesting to me seeing the different ways this is handled by other similar music / textbooks.  One other aspect I didn't mention - quite a few have no preprinted barcode but have it applied as a sticker.  So simply designing the cover with a placeholder could be a decent plan for now.  I would just make sure not to include an ISBN within the text of the book.


     

  • Thanks for sticking with me on this!

     

    I believe I understand now.  It's not so much that the ISBN inherently records the format, it's that when one applies for the ISBN, one specifies the format, and this information becomes associated with the ISBN when Lulu submits this to Ingram.  Not that I would have any plans to use Ingram - they aren't particularly relevant to my market.  But if *Bowker* has record as well, which also seems likey, that would also seal the deal.  I'm not trying misrepresent anything or commit fraud - just trying to work out a technical solution to a problem.  Sounds like the technical solution is, skip the barcode for now, maybe purchase an ISBN directly down the road and either update my cover or slap on stickers.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    Bowker gets the same info recorded for the ISBN as Ingram, which is how duplications of ISBNs are avoided.

     

    Sounds like a better solution.


    marc_sabatella wrote:

    Thanks for sticking with me on this!

     

    I believe I understand now.  It's not so much that the ISBN inherently records the format, it's that when one applies for the ISBN, one specifies the format, and this information becomes associated with the ISBN when Lulu submits this to Ingram.  Not that I would have any plans to use Ingram - they aren't particularly relevant to my market.  But if *Bowker* has record as well, which also seems likey, that would also seal the deal.  I'm not trying misrepresent anything or commit fraud - just trying to work out a technical solution to a problem.  Sounds like the technical solution is, skip the barcode for now, maybe purchase an ISBN directly down the road and either update my cover or slap on stickers.


     

Sign In or Register to comment.