on Jane Friedman:
Since 2012, the year I began working exclusively with self-publishers, I’ve helped more than 100 authors create self-publishing imprints. Some of these were formed as corporations and LLCs, but most were in name only. The common thread between all of them—one of the earliest decisions made—was to choose a name under which to buy an ISBN, short for International Standard Book Number, a unique number assigned to every published book.
Early in the ebook revolution Amazon declared ebooks did not need an ISBN. Much to the consternation of Bowker (the official U.S. issuer of ISBNs), and the publishing industry itself, ebook self-publishing platforms had no choice but to follow Amazon’s lead. Even Apple, which launched iBooks by requiring an ISBN for ebooks, was forced to abandon its position.
“Who cares?” many self-publishers declared as they forged ahead. Bowker did not or does not adequately explain the value of assigning one, so what’s the point?