#ISBN Numbers in #Canada


A little note on my blip with retrieving my ISBN numbers as I was getting ready to format my book, Conflicted Hearts.

It was Sunday. Sunday November 10, to be exact. Why do I remember this exactly? Because I was in the final stages of putting everything together for my book to be formatted, and of course that included plugging in the ISBN numbers on the copyright page.

I had already received my block of numbers from Government of Canada months before in preparation for my book. All I had to do was sign in to the government site and pull them out and fill in the required information pertaining to my book for it’s use. But I couldn’t get in! It wouldn’t accept my password and I was freaking out. That meant I couldn’t even call them until Wednesday! Monday was a holiday, Tuesday I had doctor appointments all day. It was frustrating looking at my beloved book numbers but unable to have them. I also needed to speak with the Library of Archives department because the rules were a bit misleading as to how I was supposed to send them a copy of my book after publication.

When I  was finally able to call, I reached a nice lady named Rachel. I explained the difficulty I was having obtaining my numbers and she was a great help with the process. In fact, we chatted a bit about my book and then I proceeded to ask her about my quandary on the LAC issue. She then told me that was a different department and she would connect me.

When I finally was able to call, I received an automated message asking to leave my name and phone number for someone to get back to me. Really?, I thought, as though I was calling some little business with an answering machine, not the government. I waited hours, no call back. I called back again, left another message, still no call back. I called back my ‘new friend’ Rachel and asked why nobody is calling back and she proceeded to inform me that they are minimally staffed and there was only ONE person in each department! I told her I just wanted to know the protocol for what I was legally to do with them to submit my book. I wasn’t sure how many formats they required or which formats. She then said, ‘Let me see what I can do for you, I will email them.’

A few minutes later a lovely lady named Patricia called me. I told her my concerns and she was lovely and guided me through the process and apologized for delays.  Here is what I learned:

Library of Archives and ISBN offices are in Montreal, Quebec.

Gratefully, the site navigation is about to be reconstructed for easier and updated navigation.

If you are formatting in both Mobi and Epub, only a copy of the Epub is required for them to have a copy in the archives. Patricia was kind enough to send me a direct link to forward this after I am published. She was also kind enough to give me her email address if I encountered more problems.

If you are publishing in POD, no printed copy is required to be sent in (that was one of the tricky grey areas on the website). Because POD is printed as ordered it is not necessary to submit a printed copy.

There is also an indication on the website that when submitting in ebook format, only so many megabites can be submitted at a time (grueling). I was informed that this has been changed, although it is not yet stated. I will be finding this little surprise out shortly after I publish and I will be sure to follow up here if I encounter said glitches.

I’d also like to say, I am grateful that for Canadian authors, our ISBN numbers are FREE!

Here is the email I received after our conversation, with the link attached to submit your ebook for archiving, after publication. I hope this helps some of my fellow Canadian authors.

Hello Deborah:

Thank you for contacting us today.

Here is the link to the site where you can upload your e-book.  As part of the process, you will register to receive a login and password, then you can upload you book.



Even though your file may be slightly larger than 200 MB try it anyway.  I would also recommend that you “zip” the file to compress it.

Well, I don’t believe my file is THAT big but they have certainly added some MB’s! So now that I have published (yay) I must download a copy for LAC within a week of publishing. Good luck to all you future authors. 🙂

If you run into any difficulties or need further information,  I’m happy to help.

Best Regards,




17 thoughts on “#ISBN Numbers in #Canada

  1. Hi DG-

    I hope you’ve recovered from your ice storm and that in spite of this weather and electrical blackout you managed to have a happy holiday.

    I posted part of the contents of this blog on another website I belong to:

    It’s a group I recently joined regarding self publishing and you might find some of the articles about self publishing interesting.

    Naturally, I put a link to your blog.

    Warm Regards,


    1. Thanks Carol! I’m flattered! Sure it’s fine. Thanks for the good wishes as well. We have had a lot of snow these past 2 days so the heavily iced laden trees are now burdened with snow as well. They haven’t even got power back still to ovr 50,000, 5 days later and are concerned of recurring outages due to the new weight of the branches hovering over the wires. It is terrible. My holidays were nice thanks as I hope yours were as well.


  2. This is interesting, Debby. I have never submitted an eBook file to Library and Archives Canada. I’ve never been asked to even though a few of my stories are available in only eBook form. With regard to Print on Demand books, I always send two copies for legal deposit. I don’t automatically do this. I instead wait for the notice from the archives. It usually arrives within a year of the ISBN being created.

    I wrote a post about getting ISBN and CIP. You can read it here: http://dianetibert.com/2012/04/30/getting-the-numbers-isbn-cip/

    I guess the reason they said the POD copy was unnecessary was because of that 100 copy print limit. I always check off the fact that more than 100 copies will be printed because ultimately there will be that and more. Already two of my books have reached that, and others are approaching it. Each time I order ten to twenty-five books, I get closer.

    This 100 copy mark has to do with the CIP. I always apply for a CIP because I know I’m in this for the long run and more than 100 copies will be printed. I’m going to private message regarding CIP, so I don’t fill this space.


    1. Yes, Diane, this is interesting. You are correct when you said the 100 copies margin. That is why Rachel (the ISBN lady) told me because of POD I don’t have to. I look forward to your email because I would like to know the importance of this. Thanks for always giving great explanations. 🙂 I also find it strange that if you published a few books in ebook only and they supplied you the ISBN, why they didn’t come after you for copy?


      1. Debby, I don’t see it has a ‘have to’ issue. I see it as a ‘can I’ issue. So I see it as a benefit. It is strange that they didn’t contact me regarding eBook only publications. I hadn’t heard of anyone having to submit an eBook to Library and Archives Canada until I read your post.


  3. Thank you so much for directing me here – I’m bookmarking this page. Just a couple of questions – when you sent the LAC the ebook, did you include the cover page (graphics)? I would think that would substantially add to the number of megabytes. Also, did you apply for a tax exemption in the US before you started selling on Kindle?
    It’s all so complicated! Thank goodness for you!


    1. Lol. Well I’m glad I can help. I wrote many articles about self publishing and reblogged many informative ones as well, so you have plenty here to get you started. Now, I’m pretty sure I downloaded the cover as well, as it was last year I published my first book but coincidentally I have to download my new book tomorrow for LAC, so I can verify better tomorrow when I have a refresher, lol. And yes, I absolutely got my EIN first because when you fill out publishing info for Amazon they put up a tax information form. If you don’t have that number, they automatically withhold 30% until you submit one AND THERE IS NO RETROACTIVE! So don’t rush it all, get your ducks lined up. I am giving you the link here to the ‘great tax post’. Follow David’s instructions. It’s a mere phone call and he gives you all the right things to say and they will issue your number right on the phone! Then you print the form for your records and if you are going to be making a paperback version, you will have to forward a paper copy to Createspace and to be safe, you will want to send a paper copy to Amazon for their file because sometimes things don’t compute with them 🙂 Here is the link http://wp.me/p3UZVY-cD and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I’ll confirm with you tomorrow when I download my new book with LAC 🙂


      1. Done! I figured why wait, I’d only be thinking about it all night. I just downloaded my new book to LAC, 2 minutes it was done. Ok, the choice is yours Linda. If you have your book formatted in mobi file for amazon, your cover is downloaded separately to them. All other sites take an Epub file. I have my formatter make me 2 epub files, one specifically for Smashwords. Their download meatgrinder system is much different than others and requires the cover to be inset in the document. When sending to LAC, I don’t think they take mobi files, but I decided to download my epub file for Smashwords with the cover inset and it went through, no probs! For ebook it doesn’t really matter, it is just for the government’s records where the ISBN was used. Incidentally, on my ISBN post, I wrote that you need not submit a paper copy if making paperbacks, but I was advised by an author friend to send them one anyway as it can be shared with Canadian library catalogue, and hey, any exposure is good! 🙂


      2. I saw that in your comments. So much to learn! I’ll be sure to check your archives… and I’ll be sure to ask many more questions. 🙂
        Glad this one went smoothly for you. 😀


      3. No problem Linda. I’m happy to help. And incidentally, you may luck out like me, when I called for my EIN, I had it in 10 minutes! Be sure to read David’s instructions to the T, he is well versed and is the guy who helped hundreds of non U.S. Indies to obtain this sacred number. 🙂


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