Self Publishing: ISBN and LLC

Mom always said, “To make money, you have to spend money.” She referred mostly to the investment world, and real estate. It’s true of Self Publishing, too. Self Publishing offers full artistic control. With that, I want as much legal control of rights as possible. That requires an extra expenditure of money, but it will be worth it.

First, and foremost, I am going to buy my own ISBNs. That isn’t required, nor is it standard practice. CreateSpace and Lulu will assign ISBNs to your titles for free. An ISBN costs $ 99, and I will need three for each title: the hardback, the paperback, and the ebook. Why spend $ 300 I don’t need to spend?

Control. Whoever buys the ISBN is listed as the Publisher of Record (PoR). For the free ones, that would be Lulu and/or CreateSpace. The ISBN stays with the publisher, so if I moved A Path of Stones from CreateSpace to another printer-distributor, I’d need to file for another ISBN, and that would create a new edition of the book. Not so if I buy the ISBN. If I buy it, I’m the PoR, and CreateSpace is merely the printer. I can take A Path of Stones to whatever printer I wish. It would keep its original ISBN and still be the first edition.

I want that option. IngramSpark has the potential to dethrone CreateSpace and Lulu in the Self Publishing world. IngramSpark a subsidiary of LightningSource, whose quality is by far the best in the non-traditional publishing world. LightningSource is owned by Ingram, the largest distributor of books in America. There is the possibility, then, that self-published books, sourced through IngramSpark, could appear on shelves of bricks-and-mortar stores. At the moment, IngramSpark seems to be just a user-friendly interface for LightningSource, although that could change in 2017. Unlike Lulu and CreateSpace, LightningSource is not exactly a PoD system, either. They print and distribute (through Ingram) for publishers only. So, I’d have to be a publisher. Well, if I own the ISBN, I am a publisher! You can see why I’m keeping an eye on IngramSpark and want the option of being a PoR.

If I do become a PoR, then I want to be an actual Publishing House. That’s easy. I’d file for either an LTD Partnership or a Limited Liability Company (LLC), under a fictitious name, such as NJB Media. It helps that my wife is a legal assistant for a law firm specializing in contract law, and filing LLCs is routine. That’s $ 350 in Texas. A bit of pocket change, but it gives extra clout and protection to my copyrights. It would keep other people’s fingers out of my pie, and mine out of theirs. An actual publishing house listed as an LLC would also give me the ability to act as the publisher for other people, in case my wife decides to write a book.

This all does change things. As I started this examination of non-traditional publishing, I thought about Self Publishing. Now, I’m looking at becoming an Independent Publisher.

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