In a press release from StreetLib announcing the collaboration, Bowker General Manager Beat Barblan stated, “We’re excited to team with StreetLib and make their global distribution platform available through Bowker.” Being the only official ISBN (International Standard Book Number) agency for the U.S. and its territories, Bowker is where a U.S. author has to go if she needs to purchase ISBNs.
Why You Might Want an ISBN
Technically, e-books do not require ISBNs, but any author determines if she needs one or not by how she wants to structure her career and how she wants to publish her book. Some individual vendors do not require ISBNs, and some third-party aggregators offer free ISBNs, but there are some downsides to consider The publisher is the owner of the ISBN, meaning a free ISBN from Draft2Digital will not transfer to another aggregator, forcing you to get a new ISBN if you want to switch to another company like IngramSpark. This could result in multiple book listings on a single vendor, putting you in the position of competing against yourself and losing reviews of your book.
If you want to publish on a global scale, it will be important to have an ISBN because some countries don’t allow the publication of a book that does not have one, or they charge higher taxes on books without ISBNs. An ISBN is also necessary to ensure your book is in the Books In Print database. Publishers, retailers, and libraries use this database to find your book. Your book doesn’t sell if no one can find it. If you also plan to publish different editions of your book, then investing in ISBNs is a good decision.
When an author in the U.S. determines she needs ISBNs, she must visit the Bowker website. This is where the partnership really proves its value. “With the addition of StreetLib, Bowker Identifier Services becomes a one-stop solution that publishers can use to obtain virtually all the products and services required to get a book published, discovered, and sold,” says the Library Technology Guide. Authors will no longer have to go elsewhere to publish and distribute their books.
Along with its global reach, StreetLib offers comprehensive analytics, a commission-based payment system, and a simplified process for uploading either a single book or multiple books to its platform. Sovan Mandal, a senior writer at Good Ereader, says, “By combining Bowker’s established presence in author services with StreetLib’s innovative global distribution platform, the collaboration is poised to redefine the landscape of independent publishing.”
The Importance of Analytics
Technopedia defines analytics as “the scientific process of discovering and communicating the meaningful patterns which can be found in data.” Analytics is an essential tool for an independent author, and by having partners with retailers and subscription services, StreetLib offers a complete picture of the interest in a book instead of just looking at retail sales. All of the information is in one place on a robust dashboard that explains the various analytics, which can be filtered by vendor, genre, and even language. Having everything in one place simplifies the process of using analytics to direct your career.
StreetLib also estimates daily sales, and this information provides authors more control over the best pricing schemes for their book and shows the success of any promotional campaign they might run. All of these real-time numbers give authors more control over their careers in a comprehensive format that doesn’t require the time it takes to compile the numbers from multiple vendors.
Why Choose StreetLib?
If you’ve already set up your book with a third-party aggregator like Draft2Digital or IngramSpark, switching to StreetLib just because they’ve partnered with Bowker might be unnecessary. An author must make this decision for herself after looking at all the available information about the different platforms.
Unlike other aggregators, StreetLib offers the ability to upload multiple books simultaneously. They also have access to over fifty distribution partners, including Scribd subscription services and Overdrive library access, compared to Draft2Digital, which only has fourteen partners. StreetLib simplifies the uploading of e-books by offering a “concierge” service to set up and upload your book. They also offer book formatting with an online editor that is free up to 5 MB.
E-books are very profitable for independent publishers, with a market share of over 16 billion USD in 2023, that is expected to continue rising. Because they have been in the business of distributing e-books since 2006, StreetLib comes with plenty of experience to back up what they say they are capable of doing. Their global reach makes them particularly appealing to independent authors and publishers. Some recent findings for World Book Day show the popularity of various genres worldwide. StreetLib’s access to over 250 global e-book outlets, including retailers, subscription services, and libraries, increases the likelihood that your book will find its ideal reader.
Like other third-party aggregators, StreetLib has no setup fees, and their commission rate of 10% for e-books and 20% for audiobooks is on par with other companies. Since their specialty is e-books and audiobooks, their only offering for physical books is Print On Demand, which is something to consider if you want to offer more than e-books at different vendors.
Through this partnership with StreetLib, Bowker has captured a ready-made market by ensuring that any author who comes to them for ISBNs doesn’t need to click away from their website because all she needs is now in a single place.