Self Publishing Basics: How to Read an ISBN

Posted on Updated on

How Does An ISBN Work?

Technically you need an ISBN and a Bar Code to sell your publication in Bookstores

ISBN stands for “International Standard Book Number.” If you want to sell in bookstores, self-publishers know that you need to have one of these, along with a bar code for your book or zine.

Some self-publishers are buying single ISBN numbers from RR Bowker, but if you are planning to publish more than one book, or more than one edition of your book, then you really need to have your own ISBN numbers. As the Official ISBN Agency for the United States Of America, RR Bowker is responsible exclusively for the task of issuing the ISBN prefix’s to all publishers who resides in the U.S.A.

You can tell a lot by looking at the ISBN that appears on all books. Their are some people who know how to read these ISBN sets and can tell information about you just by how the numbers are grouped together.

The traditional ISBN prefix is a series of 10 digit numbers, but in 2007 three numbers were added, “978 was added to the original 10 numbers, to make the range broader.”

Let’s breaking down an ISBN prefix by each number.

Look below at 10 of the 13 digits of a ISBN prefix for this example.


Right away you’ll notice this number sequence is divided into 4 number combinations separated by a dash. You will soon see their are only three digits that have any usefulness to you at all. First is the initial digit, in this case it is a “0.”


The “0” is the “language identifier” which in this example it indicates the English language.

The next number set is the six digit series of 820475.


This set of numbers is the publishers identification series. A small publisher who purchased only a 100 ISBN’s from RR Bowker will have a long publisher identifier number. Large publishers have much shorter publisher identifier numbers, leaving more digits available for the individual book number.

The third set of numbers for this ISBN set, in this case it is “10.”


This is the title identifier, and it’s assigned by the book publishing company to a particular book publication, or specific edition of a book. For example, I might assign this ISBN to a softcover edition, and another ISBN to an e-book edition. As you can see, if you go with the smaller purchase of buying ISBN’s it will be just a matter of time before you’ll have to go back to RR Bowker for more numbers, it is nice if you can afford to buy the ISBN’s in bulk and it’s price affective.

The last digit in this ISBN set is the number “2” and it is called the check digit.


This number is mathematically calculated and helps assure that the rest of the ISBN has been recorded, or scanned accurately in the system, it confirms all information given prior to this number is set and store ready.

The 13-digit system came into use in the year 2007. The format basically remained the same, but three numbers were added to the prefix set. The number are “978” and they were added to the beginning of the ISBN original prefix of 10. The ISBN would actually look like this, “978-0-820475-10-2.”

-The Zineiac

How To Make A Zine Using One Sheet Of Paper

Posted on Updated on

Demonstration On Making An 8 Page Mini Zine At Home

Making this zine is a fun and simple project that anyone can do.
The whole family can get involved, even a child would enjoy helping with this zine.

Follow these instructions and you will make an 8 page zine counting the front and back cover.
The most important part of the setup, is when folding the pages you line up all the edges as perfect as can.
Fold the creases flat and nice and sharp so that the spine of the zine closes properly.
This type of layout works great for mini zines, small fliers and comic books.
If you photocopy the pages after finishing the layout, you can then make as many copies as you would like.

Start with a blank piece of paper (8 1/2 x 11).

You can use a thicker stock paper for the front and back cover to make zine solid if you desired.

Now fold the paper ‘hamburger style, (seen below).’
( Hamburger style is folding the paper in half. Hotdog style is folding the paper long ways).


Unfold the paper and fold the sides inward to meet the first crease you made.
It should be folded in the shape of a “W.” (see photo)


Now unfold the entire paper and fold the paper ‘hot dog style.’
Make sure everything is creased well by folding the paper hotdog and hamburger several times.


Now unfold the paper, and you should have 8 small page boxes, like yours above and demos shown below.
As you can see some of the numbers are upside down, learn this pattern layout, so you know where to cut and paste your content.


The above photo show a number grid for you to see how the pages line up.

The zine is shown here again in the shape of a “W.”
You can see the proper fold pattern with the numbers I have put onto the pages for this demo.


Now you can put your content on each the page, before the final cut and fold.

Fold the paper accurately at this point, like in photo below, cut the center of the seam down the middle.
Be very careful not to cut past the center segment, stop cutting at the pages folded up, this is why we are folding it this way. (see below)


The fold pattern and center cut as shown above is  KEY to doing this project correctly.

Fold the paper hot dog style again (long ways), and simply push the center inward where you made the cut.
Press the whole zine together so it looks like a plus sign. (See below).


Find the front and back cover and push the folded pages together. If lined up properly they will go into place easily.
Making the creases sharp will hold it together more solid and allow the zine covers to close better.


It should look like a mini zine when finished. It gets easier with each time you make one.
You may want to make a mock zine the first time and use a number grid like I did in this example here.


If you don’t like the accordion style for the page layout, you can try other cutting variations.





Cash in on your D.I.Y. writing and creating skills, or on your art skills, by making your zine available to the public free or for a cost. Sounds like a great idea to me.
You are now ready to test the waters of marketing your zine by offering your work at, or using a zine distribution (distro). And the best part of all this is, you did it all for pinnies on the dollar.

-The Zineiac

A Look At The Leading Desktop Publishing Free Software

Posted on Updated on

Free Desktop Publishing Software Review 2014

Many of the free desktop publishing software downloads are really specialty utilities. They are fine for a specific job — such as labels or business cards — but they aren’t your all-around page design tools. However, there are a few free programs with full desktop publishing capabilities. Following the page layout / office suite software in this list you’ll find more free software, primarily graphics software, that is often used in conjunction with other desktop publishing software or for simple related tasks such as logos, business cards, and fliers.

Probably the premiere free desktop publishing software application. It has the features of the pro packages, but it’s free. Scribus offers CMYK support, font embedding and sub-setting, PDF creation, EPS import/export, basic drawing tools, and other professional level features. Scribus works in a fashion similar to Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress with text frames, floating palettes, and pull-down menus — and without the hefty price tag. As great as free is, this might not be the software you want if you have no prior experience with desktop publishing software and don’t want to devote time to overcome the learning curve.

Scribus 1.4

This a quality open source software with a powerful punch for routine desktop publishing. The only problem is formatting your download to carefully hand shake with Ghost Tree Software, which is required for use of all Scribus software. Their are many tutorials on this software transaction, but it is a tricky process, not one for the amateur publisher. Also the download it self takes a huge chunk of disc space. Not my first pick for my publishing needs.

Serif PagePlus Starter Edition

Aimed at both novice and professional users, this Windows package combines ease-of-use and some professional options, such as advanced layout and typesetting, with word processing, and drawing. Current versions are not free but Serif gives away earlier editions to generate satisfied customers (who hopefully upgrade). Get free Serif drawing, image editing, and Web publishing software too. You get way more than you pay for with this option. There’s plenty of praise for PagePlus SE even from those using the pro version. See this SE vs. Full comparison chart to see what you’re getting. If what you had in mind when searching for free was easy or simple desktop publishing software, then PagePlus Starter Edition is a good option for you. I personally use this one and love it.

Also get free Starter Editions of DrawPlus & WebPlus & Digital Scrapbook Artist Compact

Apache OpenOffice Productivity Suite

Not just as good as, some say it’s better than Microsoft Office. Get fully-integrated word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, and database tools in this Open Source software. Among the many features you’ll find PDF and SWF (Flash) export, increased Microsoft Office format support, and multiple languages. If your desktop publishing needs are basic but you also want a full suite of office tools, try Apache OpenOffice. However, for more complex desktop publishing tasks you might be better off with Scribus or PagePlus Starter Edition.

A popular free, open source vector drawing program, Inkscape uses the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. Use Inkscape for creating text and graphics compositions including business cards, book covers, fliers, and ads. Inkscape is similar in capabilities to Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW. Inkscape is also being used to create fonts. It’s a graphics program, but more flexible than a bitmap photo program for doing many desktop pubishing page layout tasks.


The GNU Image Management Program (The GIMP) is a popular, free, open source alternative to Photoshop and other photo editing software. The GIMP was the 2010 Reader’s Choice Winner in the Free Desktop Publishing Software category. It’s a bitmap photo editor so won’t do well for text-intensive design or anything with multiple pages, but it’s a great free addition to your desktop publishing software.

-The Zineiac