The minimum number you can buy is ten, which costs £118.68. To do so, go to http://www.isbn.nielsenbook.co.uk/controller.php?page=123, download the application form by clicking on the link at the bottom of the screen and fill it in. You need to answer easy questions about your new publishing house (a breeze after Lightning Source), give them credit card details and also fill in a page about the first book you will publish. There are two slightly tricky things here.
The first is the sample of the title page and title-page verso – Every book has a page at the front with the book’s title and the name of its author on the front, and on the back (the verso) the standard publishing details. All you need to do is enclose two sheets of A4 with your application form – they don’t have to be proper page layouts.
This is what was on the first of mine:
The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax
By Christopher Shevlin
And this is what was on the second:
Published by Albatross
Copyright © Christopher Shevlin 2011
Christopher Shevlin has asserted his right to be identified as the author
of this book.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise,
except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review, without
the prior permission of the copyright owner.
The second slightly tricky thing is filling in page 3 of the application form, which asks you about your book. Write your name and address in box 17 and leave boxes 18 and 19 blank. The lady at LS told me that they update the ISBN information when they set your book up. Basically, you can make a rough guess at all the information here, safe in the knowledge that it will be superseded if necessary. At this stage, you may well not know how many pages your book has, for example. (My 107,000 words ended up at 314 pages, at standard paperback size – 5” by 8”.)
The day after posting my application forms I got a call from a very nice woman at the ISBN agency telling me that I had forgotten to specify the Kindle price on my form. I rang her back and she was extremely helpful. “Call any time,” she said. The number is 0870 777 8712.