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ISBN in Australia

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In this section you will learn how to purchase a private ISBN in Australia.

ISBN in Australia

Thorpe-Bowker is the official agent for ISBNs in Australia.

To purchase one or more ISBNs, start by going to the Thorpe-Bowker website. Their web address is:

https://www.myidentifiers.com.au/

On the Thorpe-Bowker welcome page, click the ‘Sign in/Register’ option located in the top, right hand corner of the screen:

On the next screen you have the option of signing in or creating a new account. Click the blue ‘Register’ button:

You should now see an option for ‘I am a new customer’:

Below it, there is a message from Thorpe-Bowker saying that new customers will have to pay a one-off fee of $55 before they can purchase an ISBN. This is a relatively new fee and meant to cover the setting up of your account.

As Thorpe-Bowker is the only company selling ISBNs in Australia, there is now way of finding a better deal. Those who only intend to sell through Amazon’s standard distribution channels may prefer to use one of their free ISBNs instead.

Those who wish to purchase print copies from the Australian branch of IngramSpark [located in Melbourne] will have to purchase their own ISBN as the KDP ISBN is only valid for KDP.

To continue, click the blue ‘I am a new Bowker Customer’ button.

Next up you will be asked to fill in a registration form. This is pretty standard with mandatory fields marked with a red asterisk. One of those fields is ‘Organisation Type’.

If you’re a self-publisher, don’t worry. Click on the small arrow next to ‘Organisation Type’ and you will see a drop down list which includes the option for ‘Self Publisher’ :

Click the ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ button for promotional material and then complete the registration process by clicking the green ‘I Accept – Create My Account!’ button.

Once your registration is complete, return to the Thorpe-Bowker website and click Buy ISBNs & Identifiers on the main screen. Then select ‘Buy ISBNs’ from the drop down list:

Note: the option for ‘Buy ISBNs in Bulk’ will take you to a login screen for ‘VIPs’ who may buy ISBNs in their hundreds.

Next, you will be shown a page of sales options. Select the option/product of your choice by clicking the appropriate ‘Add to Cart’ button:

Bowker will display a summary of your order:

Click the blue ‘Checkout’ button.

The Checkout is fairly standard except for the fact that the only payment option appears to be Paypal:

This is rather misleading as there is, in fact, an option to pay by credit card, but you do it as a Paypal ‘Guest’.

Click the ‘Submit Order’ button and you will be shown the following screen:

To pay with your credit card, click the ‘Pay with a Card’ button.

You will now see a Paypal screen something like this:

Fill in the required details and complete your purchase.

You will now be returned to Thorpe-Bowker and a summary screen:

Note: you are under no obligation to take the survey.

To assign your new ISBN, click ‘My Account’ as shown above and select ‘My Identifiers/ISBN dashboard’ from the menus.

Assigning an ISBN to a book

You should now be looking at a screen that displays information about your ISBN[s] :

The screenshot shows a number of ISBNs, all of them unassigned – i.e. not yet linked to an actual book.

To link an ISBN to your book, click ‘Assign Title’ opposite the ISBN you wish to use.

Note: once assigned, ISBNs cannot be re-assigned.

You will now have to enter information about the book assigned to that ISBN:

The first thing to note before you begin filling in the Bowker forms is that you only have to enter information in the fields marked with a red asterisk, such as ‘Book Title’ above.

The second is that you do not have to upload the cover of your book at all.

This is important because you will need an ISBN before you can finalise the cover of your book. It is needed to generate the barcode provided by both KDP and IngramSpark. These barcodes are generated for free so you only have to purchase barcodes from Thorpe-Bowker if you intend to publish with a company that doesn’t provide a barcode.

Finally, the default view is Basic – i.e. only the most commonly used fields are displayed:

If you need to enter details not shown on the Basic view, you may wish to change to the Advanced view which contains all available fields.

Book Title

To begin entering information about your book, click in the field marked ‘Book Title’ and type the name of your book. This is a mandatory field.

Medium

Medium refers to the book’s material composition – i.e. whether it is a print book, an ebook, or an audio book.

Select ‘Print’ from the drop down list.

Format

Format refers to the type of print book – i.e. hardcover or paperback.

Select ‘Paperback’ from the drop down list.

Subjects & Genres

Subjects & Genres refers to the category of book you intend to publish. You can select two genres, but only one is mandatory.

Select the most appropriate genre for your book from the drop down list:

Authors & Contributors

Contributor 1 is the author. As an Individual, the author’s full name and suffix may be entered, but only the ‘Last Name’ is mandatory.

Type your Last Name and as much other information as you wish to enter.

The next mandatory field is ‘Function’. It refers to the role the Contributor played in the creation of the book. The only checkbox that needs to be ticked is that of ‘Author’.

When to add another Author or Contributor

As a general rule:

  • If you co-authored a book with another author, then that author’s name must be listed as a second Contributor.
  • If you supplied material to an anthology, then all the other authors of that anthology must be listed as well.
  • If the anthology was commissioned by an editor, then the editor’s name must be listed.
  • If you wrote the text for an illustrated book – for example, a children’s book – the the illustrator must also be named as a Contributor.
  • If the book was originally written in another language and translated into English, the translator must be named as a Contributor.
  • If, however, you hired an editor to ‘clean up’ the book and a designer to create the cover, you do not have to name them as Contributors.

Sales & Pricing

There are four mandatory fields in this final section: Publication Date, Target Audience, Title Status and Book Price.

Publication Date

As the ISBN is needed in order to publish the book, there are two possible ways of interpreting this field.

  • the publication date is notional – i.e. a date in the near future when you intend to officially publish the book, or
  • it refers to the original publication date of the book. For example, let’s say you publish a non-fiction book in 2010. Ten years later you revise and update that book and publish it as a second edition. Each edition of a book requires its own ISBN, but the publication date of the book points back to the publication of the first edition.

Clicking the Help icon produces this explanation from Bowker:

Target Audience

Unless your book is specifically designed for one of the listed targets, click the option for ‘Trade’. Trade refers to trade paperbacks and is the general purpose classification.

Title Status

Clicking the small down arrow opposite this field causes a drop down list to display:

‘Active Record’ is the status of any book that is [or soon will be] for sale.

Note: if the book is not due to be published for a substantial period of time – e.g. a year – ‘Forthcoming’ would be more appropriate.

Book Price

As a self-publisher, you may want to vary the price of your book for marketing purposes. Or you may sell it to a number of different market places with different currencies/price points. For all these reasons, you do not want to be tied to one price in Bowker’s records.

Click the option for ‘Write for info [No set price or free] as shown:

When you have finished, click the green Submit button.

Bowker will display a congratulations screen and that will be that. If you click on My Identifiers, you will now see your book linked to the ISBN.

You can now type the ISBN into the Copyright page of your book and submit it to KDP or IngramSpark for the barcode on the cover.

Note: Be sure to copy the ISBN for your book exactly as it is shown, including hyphens.

Log out from Thorpe-Bowker.

In the next section we will look at the National Library of Australia, Legal Deposit requirement.

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30% Withholding Tax

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In this section you will learn about the the 30% US Withholding Tax, and how Australian Self-Publishers can get the tax reduced to 5%.

30% Withholding Tax

All authors who sell their books on Amazon.com are subject to a 30% Withholding Tax. This tax is automatically deducted from their earnings by Amazon.

Authors living in countries that have a Trade Treaty with the US, such as Australia, can apply for an exemption that reduces the tax to 5%.

If you are eligible for this exemption, KDP will send you an email explaining about the Withholding Tax. At the end of the email there will be a link to a page where you will be able to complete the tax exemption forms.

Requirements

Australian authors will need an Australian Tax File number.

On the tax exemption page, you will be asked to consent to filling in the form electronically.

You will also be asked to consent to providing an electronic signature for Form W-9. The electronic signature does not require any arcane graphical knowledge. You simply type your name and then click a button that confirms you are who you say you are.

Filling in the forms

A few things to remember about these forms:

  • You are completing the W-9 form as an individual so you can leave questions relating to businesses blank.
  • ‘Beneficial Owner’ refers to you as the owner of the work.
  • When you are asked if you have a TIN, answer yes as this is your Australian Tax File number.
  • You will be asked to type your ‘Australian TIN’ in the box provided. Type your Tax File Number exactly as it appears on your Tax File Number certificate.
  • For the US Persons Test, you should click the last entry which says ‘None of the above’.

Once these forms have been completed and submitted, Amazon can reduce your Withholding Tax to 5%.

In the next section we will look at purchasing an ISBN in Australia.

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National Library of Australia, Legal Deposit

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The information in Part 3 is tailored specifically for Australian Authors. In this section you will learn about the legal requirement to deposit a copy of your book with the National Library of Australia.

What is ‘Legal Deposit’?

It is a legal requirement that Australian authors deposit one copy of every book they publish with the National Library of Australia, within one month of publication.

For more details, please visit the National Library of Australia website: https://www.nla.gov.au/legal-deposit/how-to-deposit

The National Library of Australia accepts both print and digital formats – i.e. paperbacks, magazines, maps etc and ebooks. Given the cost of printing a book and posting it, self publishers with both a print and a digital version of their book may wish to deposit only the digital version. To do so, contact the library and ask for the deposit to be digital only.

How to deposit Print material

Send printed material to:

Books
Legal Deposit
National Library of Australia
Canberra ACT 2600

Journal, magazine and newsletter issues
Australian Serials
National Library of Australia
Canberra ACT 2600

Sheet music
Music Acquisitions and Cataloguing
National Library of Australia
Canberra ACT 2600

Maps
Maps Acquisitions and Cataloguing
National Library of Australia
Canberra ACT 2600

How to deposit Digital material

To deposit your ebook, go to the National Library of Australia home page: https://www.nla.gov.au and select ‘Legal deposit’ from the Using the Library/Services for Publishers sub-menu:

This will take you to the Legal Deposit screen:

Click the bright red ‘Deposit Now’ button. This will take you to the National eDeposit [NED] website: https://ned.gov.au/portal/

Here you can:

  • Make an edeposit
  • Manage your account
  • Create an account

You do not have to create an account with the NED, but if you are likely to self-publish more than one book, it would make sense to have one.

Selecting the type of ePublication to deposit

Click the ‘Make an edeposit’ button.

You should now be looking at a screen that asks what type of ePublication you want to deposit. The two options are : Monograph and Serial.

Monograph is defined as a publication that usually has an ISBN. Examples given include books, series of books, maps etc. Serials have an ISSN and include magazines and newspapers etc.

Monograph

Select ‘Monograph’. A drop down list will display. Select ‘Book/books in series’ as shown:

After specifying the type of publication you wish to deposit, the screen changes to show the upload option:

The NED will only accept the following file types:

  • .epub
  • .pdf
  • .mobi

Note: NED does not accept Word documents.

Find the digital version of the book you wish to deposit and wait until it uploads. Depending on the size of the file, this could take a few minutes:

Next, you will be asked to upload a digital copy of the cover of the book:

Note: the file format of the cover cannot be .pdf. It must be in either .jpg, .jpeg, .tif or .tiff file formats.

Once the cover has finished uploading, click the ‘Next: ePublication details’ button at the bottom of the screen:

ePublication details

The next screen requests information about the publication itself. You will have to enter the title of the book and, as owner of the intellectual content, you will have to enter your name:

‘Owner type’, ‘Given names’ and ‘Last name’ are mandatory. ‘Owner role’ and ‘Birth year’ are optional but it wouldn’t hurt to identify your role as the ‘Author’.

You can also add another owner by pressing the green ‘Add another owner’ button located under ‘Owner type’.

Other information

As with Thorpe-Bowker, you are asked for the publication date. Enter the year in which the book became available for sale or download [if free].

The only other tricky question regards the ‘Edition Statement’. Again, this only applies to books which have been published before. This is the explanation offered by NED:

Click ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ as the case applies.

ISBN

Next, you are asked whether the book has an ISBN:

If your book has an ISBN, select the ‘Yes’ option and then type in the ISBN…but with no hyphens this time.

When you have finished adding information, click the ‘Next: Access Conditions’ button located at the bottom of the screen.

Access conditions

This section refers to how much of your book you allow the public to access, and under what conditions:

Confirm that you have the legal right to set conditions for your book and then decide how much access you will allow.

If your book is available for sale, the two options circled in orange probably strike the best balance between your commercial rights and the purpose of the legal deposit.

Publisher details

As a self-publisher, you will have to enter your own contact details, including name, address, phone and email.

At the bottom, you are asked if you want to create a user account. If you tick ‘Yes’ you will have to enter the standard registration details, but at least you will never have to enter them again.

If you don’t want to create an account, click the ‘Next: Review and submit’ button located at the bottom of the screen.

Review and submit

This screen details the information you have entered in all the previous screens. Right down the bottom is a checkbox:

Ticking the checkbox grants permission for ‘NED Member Libraries to use and manage deposited content as outlined in the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Notice’.

Tick the checkbox and then click the green ‘Submit your edeposit’ button to complete the process.

Legal Deposit in State Libraries

Legal Deposit also requires that you deposit a copy of your book with the library of your home state. https://www.nsla.org.au/legal-deposit-australasia

If you only have a print edition of your book, you will have to send a physical copy to the relevant state library.

If you also have an ebook version of your book, you may request to deposit it instead of a physical copy:

Depositing the ebook with NED ensures that it is available in all states.

Best of luck with your publishing, now and in the future.

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