Why Not Use a Free ISBN Number on Amazon KDP?

As you may already know amazon kdp provides a free ISBN to publish a paperback book. Most of the low-content book publishers (myself included) use this free ISBN number to publish their low-content books like coloring books, activity books, and puzzle books but they don’t know the disadvantage of using a free ISBN.

In this blog post, I am going to discuss some of the drawbacks of using a free ISBN number on amazon kdp. Like I said, If you’re just starting and thinking of publishing your first book, you may be wondering why not use a free ISBN number provided by Amazon.

The biggest reasons you should not be using a free ISBN on amazon include, firstly, you can’t use your brand name on Amazon when using a free ISBN. Secondly, your book won’t be listed anywhere else, and you won’t be able to get a brand name.

Before going into the details of why not to use a free ISBN number on amazon kdp, let’s a look at some basic stuff.

What is a Free ISBN?

An ISBN is an international identification number assigned to every published book. This unique number holds important information about a book, including its title, language, edition, publisher, technical aspects, and more. An ISBN is important for an author who intends to sell their book. However, an ISBN is not needed if you plan to give your book to friends and family members.

It is a number used to identify books and every other variant of a printed book. For example, large print books require a separate ISBN than paperbacks. Regardless of how you obtain your free ISBN, you should carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option. If you’re wondering whether or not you can use your free ISBN on Amazon, this article is for you!


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Why Not Use a Free ISBN Number – Two Biggest Reasons!

Below are some of the major drawbacks of using a free ISBN number.


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Why Not to Use a Free ISBN Number on Amazon

# 1 – Your Brand Name is Not Listed on Amazon

There are several reasons to avoid a free ISBN number on Amazon. First, it will not reflect your brand name.  Using a free ISBN on Amazon will not give you a professional look as your brand name is listed as “Independent”. And if your book is sold by a third-party vendor, the ISBN can be removed and your IP is less protected.

# 2 – You Can’t Publish Your Book Elsewhere

Another downside to using a free ISBN is that you cannot publish your book anywhere else than Amazon. That means you cannot sell your book on your website or even any other platform. Keep these limitations in mind if you’re considering using a free ISBN.

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Free Vs Paid ISBN Number on Amazon KDP

There are many advantages of using a free ISBN on Amazon, but there are also some disadvantages. Buying your ISBN locks you out of many problems, and it adds more overhead to your business. However, you may want to choose the free option if you only intend to sell your book only on Amazon.

Using a free ISBN on Amazon has a few disadvantages, and it may not be suitable to use elsewhere. For example, a free ISBN issued by Amazon KDP will not list your brand name on the page and it is only suitable if you intend to sell your book on amazon. This makes it important to determine where you’ll sell your book before you source your ISBN. Otherwise, you may end up with a worthless book that will never sell.

Alternatives of Free ISBN

Free ISBNs are not a reliable option if you want to operate and sell on multiple platforms. So, why would you want to risk this situation? 


If you’re thinking of publishing your books on multiple platforms, the first place to start is Bowker. This company is the official seller of ISBNs in the United States and many of its territories. Once you’ve purchased your ISBN, you can sell your book through Amazon or other retailers. As a result, you’ll be able to list yourself as the publisher, allowing you to sell your book everywhere.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Free ISBN Number

Below I have answered some of the frequently asked questions about free ISBN Numbers.

Does Amazon Give a Free ISBN Number?

The question “Does Amazon give a free ISBN?” may seem like an oxymoron to many authors, but in reality, it is true. A free ISBN on Amazon is great for authors on a tight budget, or those who only plan to sell their books on amazon.

Should I Use a Free ISBN Or Buy My Own?

An ISBN is a unique identification number for your book. If you don’t want to pay for an ISBN, you can use a free ISBN, but it may not be worth the investment for many authors. The main drawback of free ISBNs is that they may not be universally accepted.

While it is possible to obtain a free ISBN from Amazon’s KDP, Draft2Digital, and Smashwords, it’s generally a better idea to buy one if you are looking to sell on multiple platforms. For instance, an Amazon-issued ISBN won’t be valid for listing your book elsewhere. You should know what your distribution strategy is before sourcing an ISBN. You can also ask your publisher or distributors if they offer a free ISBN.

Who Should Use a Free ISBN on Amazon?

You can use a free ISBN if your book is a personal project or for pure fun. Well, in most cases, it is okay to use a free ISBN as long as you don’t plan to publish it for commercial purposes. If your book is a personal project and intended for fun or family, then a free ISBN can save you a lot of time and money.

If you’re considering using a free ISBN on Amazon, you’ll need to weigh the benefits of doing so against the disadvantages. For instance, the free ISBN is often removed by third-party vendors, so proving that you own your IP is less important. If you’re going to use a free ISBN on Amazon, you must list Amazon as your publisher.

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Final Thoughts

Using a free ISBN is an option if you’re publishing your books under your own name or a pen name. However, if want to build a brand and publish the same books on multiple platforms then, you should use a paid ISBN. In most cases, you won’t need to use a paid ISBN if you’re publishing a personal project or for fun so keep these things in mind before you opt for one!

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Subha Malik





Subha Malik

Subha Malik is a Amazon KDP Author and Self Publisher. He loves to write about Low Content & Medium Content Book Publishing via Amazon KDP.

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