Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Experiment, APPENDIX TO PART ONE: Acquiring a Barcode

So this week I've been digging a little deeper into the whole barcode issue. Once again, my friend Tom was indispensible (although he did it out of his own sense of curiosity and not because I'd asked him to). Tom found out that an ISSN isn't necessary, as it only applies to periodical publications.

Armed with this knowledge, I proceeded to the Bookland EAN page to get my free barcode. Here is where I balked; the Bookland EANs are not guaranteed:

ISBN bar codes are provided here WITHOUT WARRANTY. The program that generates the bar codes is free software and has not been shown to comply with any set of bar code specifications...You must verify the bar code before going to press.
It's best to use a professional bar code verifier...Going to press with a bad ISBN bar code can be costly. If you can't afford this risk, please contact one of our sponsors for a professionally generated bar code.

As a small self-publisher, or more precicely as a soon-to-be self-published author, I do not feel I can afford the risk of a barcode that could be invalid. Another problem is that it is entirely possible that the barcode may already be assigned to another book or product. Worst of all, as an unguaranteed barcode, the barcode isn't registered. This means that I could slap this barcode on the back of my book and later on the barcode could be registered to another book or product at a later date. As the barcode would THEN be registered to that particular product, and I would have to get a new barcode for my book.

This isn't a risk I can afford to take. This isn't a risk I feel that anyone in this particular situation can afford to take. As a self-publisher, I cannot afford any damage to my credibility. If the book isn't properly printed and bound, if there is anything that can adversely effect the distribution, sale or shipping of the book it can destroy my reputation, and my ability to print, distribute and sell anything else.

At the outset of this experiment I said that good, bad or indifferent I was going to put down everything I experienced and everything I discovered while trying to self-publish. That includes my mistakes. The goal is to learn how to self-publish without getting burned, and in the process, maybe some other authors will learn how to self publish as well.

I am a little frustrated and quite a bit disappointed that my plans have been frustrated. However, by doing all my homework and not leaping in with both feet, I saved myself from making a terrible mistake.

However, the difference between making a mistake and failure is that failure comes from not learning from one's mistakes; failure is in not moving forward.

So, I did more research; obviously a free barcode isn't a viable alternative. But neither is paying $120.00 USD for one. So I did some digging, and found the site for Barcode Graphics. They offer single barcode purchases for $10.00 USD by credit card.

Unfortunately, this means that I need to put enough money on my credit card to actually be able to BUY a barcode, but it'll be worth it. That'll mean a bit of a long wait as my card is maxed out.

The wait is also going to afford me more time to research Print On Demand publishers, and to contact book distributors and find one who will work with me.

More will be reported, soon.


Anonymous said...

Good going, man. For a second there I was thinking it sounded a little suss. It's unlikely to find people willing to do anything that required effort for free if they aren't a government agency of some kind. It would be nice if a book could be registered across the world for free, but we have all these differing laws going on. It's a good idea to put all your thoughts and problems up here. This way we will all know just how hard, easy, expensive or cheap it is to publish. Of course, that was your idea, so I'll shuddup now. ^_^