Copyright and ISBN

Two more details that need to be determined in the production process are the matters of copyright registration and whether you will assign an EAN (ISBN-13) number to your book. These are both relatively simple things to accomplish, but should not be neglected as they impact your rights and how your book can be sold.

You own copyright in your work when it is fixed in “tangible form,” including in the form of your manuscript. Your book does not have to be published for you to own copyright in the content you have created. Registering your copyright does not establish the copyright, but it does provide independent documentation through the Library of Congress that demonstrates that you are the owner of the material. You can register your work in unpublished form (your manuscript) and then register it again when it is published, or wait and register it only after it is published. The $45* filing fee ($35 when filing at the Library of Congress web site, for the registration application must be paid for each filing.
An EAN (European Article Number) or ISBN-13 (International Standard Book Number, new format) are not needed if you will only distribute your book yourself. However, if you wish to have your book accessible to retailers through normal distribution channels, it is required, since retailers, wholesalers, distributors and many other organizations use these numbers to specifically identify the books they handle, and cannot deal with your book unless it has one. As of January 1, 2007, the 13-digit EAN (European Article Number) supplanted the 10-digit ISBN. For the time being, the old ISBN is still used along with the new EAN. EAN-ISBN fees are more expensive than copyright registration, are available only to established publishers, and are purchased by the publisher in minimum sets of ten numbers. The publisher will assign the number(s) to each version of a book. If a book you publish and distribute yourself becomes a candidate for mass distribution, an EAN-ISBN version can be created for this purpose. Depending on how you intend to distribute your book, other barcoded identification may also be useful or required.

*Costs are subject to change.