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Tips for Buying & Using an ISBN from Nielsen in the UK



Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Ben Oakley

Buying an ISBN from Nielsen is as simple as anything but getting the right package for your needs is important.

Tips for Buying & Using an ISBN from Nielsen in the UK

This post looks at all the questions regarding buying and using an ISBN from Nielsen in the UK. If you’re reading this from another country, then you can find your agency using this search tool.

What’s the difference between using a free ISBN from Amazon and buying one from Nielsen?

When you self-publish a print book through Amazon KDP, you are offered a free Amazon ISBN.

This ISBN can then be used with your book on Amazon only and will be distributed in every marketplace you agree to sell your book on. It cannot be used elsewhere.

Using one of Amazon’s ISBNs will have your publisher/imprint name listed as Independently Published. This means you cannot use your own publishing name.

If you buy an ISBN from Nielsen, you can publish the book using your own publishing name, one you would have set up during the Nielsen sign-up.

The difference between imprints is the only technical difference. Amazon will not own the copyright, or any other rights associated with your book.

How to buy an ISBN from Nielsen?

Nielsen is the UK’s ISBN agency, so they are the official seller of ISBNs in the country, including maintaining the database of metadata. You can buy from a separate agency if you wish but you will have their publishing name and not yours.

  • Go to the Nielsen ISBN store.
  • Select the number of ISBNs you want.
  • If you’re a new publisher, you will need to set up your details.
  • If you have already purchased, then sign in with your account.

The image below shows the price of an ISBN from Nielsen, correct as of August 2022.

Tips for Buying & Using an ISBN from Nielsen in the UK

What’s the best package for self-publishers?

This all depends on your finances and how many books you intend to publish.

£91 for a single ISBN is expensive and adds a substantial cost to your book’s budget. Although 10 ISBNs are £169, it works out at only £16.90 each.

If you plan to publish one or two books a year, then the block of 10 would work out better value over the long run.

If you plan to publish at least four-five books per year, then it might be more beneficial to opt for the prefix of 100 ISBNs.

A block of 100 also gives you better peace of mind, as you’ll want to publish a hardback as well, along with second or even third editions down the line, which require a new ISBN.

Most self-published authors opt for the block of 10 ISBNs.

NOTE: Though Nielsen’s shopping basket gives you the option to add a promotional code, Nielsen never have them, so you can save time by not looking around for one.

How long does it take to get your block of ISBNs?

Nielsen send an email immediately with your block of ISBNs listed in the email text.

Make sure to keep your ISBNs safe either in highly secure cloud storage, or on your hard drive.

Create a folder on your email software titled Nielsen, to keep all correspondence with them safe and easily accessible.

You can use your ISBNs immediately, as you would have already registered your publishing name when you checked out – for a first-time customer.

How to register your book’s details with Nielsen Title Editor?

The agency has many paid options if you really need the extra benefits (enhanced options) but most self-publishers simply opt for access to the free Title Editor.

Nielsen Title Editor

You can only apply to access Title Editor if you have already ordered your ISBNs. There are other ways of accessing it but owning ISBNs with your publishing name is the best way to sign up.

It takes around one week to have your application approved for Title Editor. So, once you’ve signed up, put it to the back of your mind until you get the login details sent through.

You can still publish your book using your ISBN and the publishing name you signed up with when purchasing them.

Once you have access to Title Editor, click on Add Book to add the details of your book. The quickest and easiest way to do it is via the Easy Add Book option.

Your book details are updated within 1-3 days and go live on the Nielsen system. You also have the option to upload your jacket cover when adding the metadata of the book.

What are the benefits of having your own ISBN from Nielsen?

  • Your own publishing name.
  • Book becomes accessible to the trade.
  • More efficient marketing of your book.
  • Makes book accessible to libraries without aggregators.
  • Allows your book to become orderable by offline stores.
  • Ensures direct identification of different versions.

Once you get to grips with ISBNs and Nielsen’s Title Editor, you’ll be able to connect metadata to your ISBN within a matter of ten minutes.

You’ll also have your book listed with Gardners distribution simply by adding metadata to your ISBN!

If you’re planning to make a living with your books, we have a complete guide to self-publishing that has some surprising insights.

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Ben Oakley is a bestselling author, researcher, publisher, blogger, and mental health advocate from Camden, England. Usually found on Twitter or in the bars and parks of Camden. Agathokakological is his favourite word!