ISBN LULU's or buy my own? UK based

Hi,

 

complete newby here so please bear with me and I hope this is in the right section.

I've been writing my 'grand epic' for 7 years now and am close to having vol 1 finished. I've ordered a proof print copy and am waiting impatiently for it to arrive.

 

I have a question about ISBN.

I know that LULU will supply one free or you can buy your own.

I read that if you use a lulu ISBN  but aren't a US citizen you have to fill in the W8Ben form to avoid the 30% tax - understood.

 

 

So question 1, would buying ISBNs from the UK site avoid that?

 

Question 2, I can find little info about how to buy in the UK. I know that the UK site only sells them in blocks of 10, but I read that you have to supply full info about page numbers etc of the books. As I haven't got that far for most of the story (it's all written, but lots of proof reading and editing awaits the rest of it. I don't know yet even how many volumes to break it into.  So has anyone here bought UK ISBNs? How exactly does it work? Can you buy a block in advance and in some way register each volume with one of the numbers as it's finished? Or what?

Can anyone tell me how it works please?

 

Thank you.

 

Comments

  • I use the free Lulu ISBNs. My understanding is that you only occur tax withholding for sales to the US. All other royalties are paid gross. After 2 days trying to understand the W8Ben form my brain started dribbling out of my ears and I was gibbering incoherently. It reminded me of UK tax forms 30 years ago. For the sake of my health and sanity I just take the hit for US tax. After all you have to pay tax somewhere and for me it does not make a major difference to my income.

     

    Good luck with the epic! I spent 5 years writing before my wife persuaded me to publish and I love it. I hope you get as much enjoyment out it as I do.

  • Thanks.

    I already had to fill in one w8ben form this year so I know what you mean about it. It was horrible!

    However without it, if you're already past your allowance (and I am because I work full time), you pay tax twice - the 30% in the States and then UK tax on the balance. (My brother-in-law is an accountant) Paying tax twice irks!! I still have a copy of the first form so I can just copy it all over for LULU

     

    If I buy my ISBNs here does that comletely remove the need for mucking about with US taxation, even on sales there?

     

    I don't want to buy 10 though and then find I can't use the others, plus which I'd probably want global reach and that's more expense. I'm surprised that Nielson don't do any guides on the process.

     

    .

  • I have my own ISBNs and it doesn't affect the fact that you have to pay US tax unless you go down the W8BEN route.

     

    From what you've posted it looks like you already know this, but just to be sure - there is only one way to buy official ISBNs, despite all the websites you'll find offering them to you on the cheap, and that's to go through Nielsen. The price seems to have gone up since I bought mine. It's now £144 for 10 (and you have to buy a minimum of ten).

     

    I bought mine in advance of publishing the book so as far as I know it's fine to put estimates in for page number etc. You can always write to Nielsen later to get them to change the information you've given them.

     

     

     


  • I already had to fill in one w8ben form this year so I know what you mean about it. It was horrible!

     


    Ever thought about doing a W8Ben Masterclass for Lesser Mortals? I'll be first in the queue to sign up!

  • If you purchase your own ISBN then you are the publisher on record, and Lulu is the distributor. In such cases Lulu doesn't withhold taxes, and it becomes solely your responsibility.

    You may want to look into the cost of obtaining ISBNs from your country's ISBN authority. I did that and found out that ISBNs are free in Canada. If the cost is higher than you want to pay then you may consider filling out the W8-BEN so Lulu won't have to withhold taxes anymore.

  • oncewasoncewas Librarian

    Archaeologist,

    You said 'paying tax twice irks' but in what way do you pay tax twice?

    If you are earning additional income then you should inform the UK Tax Man
    that you need to complete a tax return.

    On this tax return you can choose to declare either the net amount you
    received after the US tax man took his cut or the gross amount and then
    ask for credit for the US taxes which you have already paid.

    Let's say you earned $ 1000 and the US tax man took 30 % withholding tax.

    You can pay UK tax on $ 700 or you can say I earned $ 1000 and the UK Tax man
    has to deduct $ 300 from whatever he thinks is due because you have already paid
    this to the US Tax Man.

  • If I earn 1000 and the US deducts 300, the left-over 700 has to be declared in the UK and they will take 20% of it. That is paying twice.

     

    If I earn 1000, and the US doesn't take 300 then I pay 20% in the UK. That is not paying twice and leaves me with less hassle and more money.)

    To get that option I either fill in another W8Ben or buy my own ISBNs. (thanks rdpruden for confirming the latter)

     

     

    In the UK you can only buy blocks of ten and it seems you even have to stipulate in advance what the file type will be if it's an ebook. How can I possibly know that in advance?

    They also want the titles and number of pages. Atm I only have titles for the first 2 and don't want to commit for the rest until I've split them up, which isn't happening until after I get vol 1, 2 and 3. So maybe I'll go with Lulu's isbn for now and see how that goes (and fill in another W8Ben)


  • Richard_Coady wrote:

    I have my own ISBNs and it doesn't affect the fact that you have to pay US tax unless you go down the W8BEN route.

     

    I thought I read otherwise somewhere. I really need to look further into that. Finances makes my head hurt.

     

    From what you've posted it looks like you already know this, but just to be sure - there is only one way to buy official ISBNs, despite all the websites you'll find offering them to you on the cheap, and that's to go through Nielsen. The price seems to have gone up since I bought mine. It's now £144 for 10 (and you have to buy a minimum of ten).

     

    Mind you, the official source depends on the country. I've been told to go to Bowker, which is the American ISBN agency, but I'm in Canada, so I actually go to a different agency.

     

    I bought mine in advance of publishing the book so as far as I know it's fine to put estimates in for page number etc. You can always write to Nielsen later to get them to change the information you've given them.

     

    I would assume you wouldn't actually assign your ISBNs until you actually have a book to publish. Any details you provide should be directly related to the finished product.

  • I also read that if you use your own country's ISBN there is no witholding.

     

    The problem with not buying an ISBN until ready to print is that in the UK you have to buy them in blocks of ten. I can't wait until I have 10 volumes ready before publishing!

    This is why I am asking if anyone in the UK has gone this  route and if so, how did they deal with the requirement to give details about all the books before you even have 10 ready to go. What is the actual process? Is there a way to register provisional details and then change them later? Writing to them and asking them to change it is a bit vague. I need to know if this is even possible before forking out £144.

     

    Lulu's ISBN is looking more attractive all the time, but I like the idea of being my own publisher. However, I am not rich and £144 is a lot of money.

  • oncewasoncewas Librarian

    The UK and US have double taxation agreements in place precisely so that citizens of either country do not have to pay tax twice on the same revenue.

     

    All you have to do is declare the full US revenue and then say how much US tax was withheld, and that you wish to be given credit for this tax and the problem is solved i.e. no more double taxation.

     

    I mentioned that there were two ways you could declare your US revenue; one would be to declare the net amount and then you have to pay tax on that, and if someone has earned $ 20 they might use this method.

     

    The other method is described above and which results in you not paying a penny more than you need to. Either of these must be easier than having to jump through hoops to get your US revenue paid without withholding tax?

     

    I hope this makes it easier to decide which ISBN to go for.

  • No actually, filling in the W8Ben was MUCH easier than trying to work out how to declare income that's been taxed in the US and to claim that tax back as credit (if that is even possible.)

    The one time I tried declaring anything to the tax office they hung up on me because even though I know my NI number,  I couldn't remember the name of the place I worked for 5 months 20yrs ago. If and when I have some income I will ask my brother-in-law how to declare it, and maybe he will do it for me, but I want to keep it as simple as possible by not paying US tax in the first place.


    The W8Ben was nasty, but not nearly as complicated as calling the UK tax people and trying persuade them that you are yourself. That list of ID questions can be answered only by someone with a perfect memory.

     

    The main info I need is how exactly one buys ISBNs from the UK and what info they need and whether they really need all that info up front and whether they are happy to have provisional info which you can change later.

     


  • rdpruden wrote:

    Richard_Coady wrote:

    I have my own ISBNs and it doesn't affect the fact that you have to pay US tax unless you go down the W8BEN route.

     

    I thought I read otherwise somewhere. I really need to look further into that. Finances makes my head hurt.

     

    I have my own ISBNs and I'm having to go through the W8BEN route to stop Amazon from withholding my taxes. But this is for a book I published myself (ie not through Lulu) so that might be the reason for that. Annoyingly, the Americans have just returned my passport to me to say it isn't a valid document to prove my nationality, which has left me slightly confused.

     

    From what you've posted it looks like you already know this, but just to be sure - there is only one way to buy official ISBNs, despite all the websites you'll find offering them to you on the cheap, and that's to go through Nielsen. The price seems to have gone up since I bought mine. It's now £144 for 10 (and you have to buy a minimum of ten).

     

    Mind you, the official source depends on the country. I've been told to go to Bowker, which is the American ISBN agency, but I'm in Canada, so I actually go to a different agency.

     

    Quite right. I should've specified that Nielsen is just for the UK.

     

    I bought mine in advance of publishing the book so as far as I know it's fine to put estimates in for page number etc. You can always write to Nielsen later to get them to change the information you've given them.

     

    I would assume you wouldn't actually assign your ISBNs until you actually have a book to publish. Any details you provide should be directly related to the finished product.

     

    I bought 10 ISBNs (the minimum) when I was ready to publish my first book. I didn't have all the details for that when I bought them (eg page number, price) so I filled in nominal values on the form and emailed Nielsen later to change those values. The other 9 ISBNs are sat on my computer waiting for me to publish another book. Once I do, I'll assign another ISBN to it and email Nielsen with the details.


     

  • Hi, Thanks.

    Did you have to fill in nominal values for all ten or just for the first?

  • Just the first.

  • You don't wait till you have a book ready to buy your ISBN, you but it and assign details later. Publishers buy them by the thousands in advance of the books they intend to publish.
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