Besides formatting my images and mulling over which binding format I want, (see previous posts) I've been doing some research into the legalities of self publishing - particularly book identification. As far as I understand right now, there are three essentials I need to have before I can list my book for sale with any large retailer: ISBN, Bar Code, and Publishing Copyright.
ISBN: The only place in the US to purchase an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is Bowker. Unlike other countries, the US has granted a monopoly to Bowker to control ISBN here. It is less expensive to buy in blocks of numbers. Buying ten ISBN numbers will cost about $250. That way I will have numbers ready for all the new books I'm going to create (because I am just so full of creativity. ) HERE is a great post on how to obtain an ISBN number. And HERE is another post on why to buy blocks of numbers instead of just one.
BAR CODES: Even if I have an ISBN, a bar code will be necessary if I want to sell to stores. Most bookstores and retail shops use scanners to keep track of their inventory. A small, local bookstore might take my greeting cards or little books but most won't. Its just too much hastle for them to manually create an account for my goods.
Placement: Another issue which I need to research is the placement of the ISBN bar code. Traditionally, this should appear on the back bottom of the book. The bar code must be printed in black on a white background. It must be a certain size and of certain dimensions and must appear a certain distance from the bottom edge. Different publishers have their own requirements about where to place the bar code - another thing to decide.
COPYRIGHT: It is not required to register for an official copyright but, from all I can see, is advisable. For a mere $40 I can register the copyright for my book with the US government. Everybody wants a little piece of the action.
LIST of BOOKS PRINTED - or BOOKS in PRINT: I will want to get my book listed on some of these lists in order for booksellers, libraries, and buyers to be able to look up my book when doing a search. I believe this is free and can be done through Bowker when buying one's ISBN. Finally. Something that doesn't cost anything.
---------------------------------------------------------Originally, I had thought that creating a little coloring book from the line drawings of my artwork would be an easy and fun thing to do. Why not create as many applications for a design as possible? Now I see that this is sooooo much more involved than I knew. The creation of the actual book will probably take me as long as the drawings took! My instinct is, however, that once I do it the first time, subsequent similar books will not be difficult.