For those authors self-publishing a book for the first time, there’s a lot to learn – new terminology, new skills, new business models. One of the terms a new author likely is to run into, especially when uploading their book to CreateSpace or another print on demand company is imprint.
Imprint is another word for “publisher.” Every book has a publisher, which is someone (or a company) who prepares the text for sale. Typically, the imprint or publisher own the book’s ISBN.
So who is the imprint – or publisher – of your book?
To answer that question, first ask who owns the ISBN that is going on the book’s title page. If you (or your company) personally purchased the ISBN, you are the publisher. Individuals as well as companies can purchase and own ISBNs, so you don’t have to create a business simply because you’re self-publishing, though there are some advantages to it.
Secondly, if you don’t have an ISBN, ask yourself who then will assign one to your book. Either you must go buy one or you can have the print on demand company take care of for it; the cost of the latter ranges from free at CreateSpace to nominal at Smashwords, though a few companies may make you pay full price and even charge a processing fee for the paperwork of obtaining one. Should you have your print on demand company assign your book an ISBN, then they are the imprint or publisher. So, a CreateSpace-assigned ISBN means “CreateSpace” will have to be entered as the imprint.
All book that are sold must have an imprint or publisher, as this allows distributors and retailers to determine the ownership and authenticity of your book’s ISBN. If you just give away your book, then no ISBN is necessary, though you may not be able to do so through a distributor or retailer.
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