Nielsen Book to Launch ISBN Store, Making ISBNs More Accessible to Self-Published Authors
Yesterday Nielsen Book announced the forthcoming launch of its ISBN Store. The ecommerce platform will allow U.K. publishers and self-published authors to purchase ISBNs (International Standard Book Number) within minutes. This is a significant change for Nielsen Book. Previously, U.K. publishers and authors had to fill out an email form in order to purchase up to 1000 ISBNs, which could take 10 days to process. Now smaller ISBN purchases will be automated, allowing publishers and authors to buy a single ISBN or blocks of 10 or 100, according to The Bookseller. Publishers buying over 1000 ISBNs must contact Nielsen ahead of those purchases.
This flexibility is incredibly important because it makes it easier for thousands of self-published U.K. authors to identify their books. This will improve book discoverability, and it will increase Nieslen’s ability to measure the self-published book market. Several critics have noted the large data gap organizations like Nielsen, the AAP, and others have in regards to self-published book sales. That gap is due to the fact that many self-published titles do not have ISBNs. The Author Earnings Report, for example, claims that as much as 30% of ebooks purchased in the U.S. do not have ISBNs. That has created a significant “shadow” ebook market.
Greater accessibility and ease of purchase should reduce that statistic in the U.K., though how significantly remains to be seen. With more complete data, publishers should have a clearer picture of how the book market has changed in light of self publishing.
“It’s a great pleasure for me to announce the launch of the ISBN Store in the UK,” said Jonathan Stolper, VP & Global MD at Nielsen Book, in a press release. “It is one of our significant achievements this year and we expect it to make the ISBN even more relevant and accessible to the publishing sector.”
What do you think? Will greater access to ISBNs improve publishers’ understanding of the self-published book market? Or will the “shadow” market continue to grow?
Read the full Nielsen announcement here.
Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.