Breathe. Write. Breathe. - 18 Energizing practices to spark your writing and free your voice by Lisa Tener

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18 Energizing Practices to Spark Your Writing & Free Your Voice

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How Much New Material is Needed for a Second Edition of a Book?

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Your Book Writing Coach

Revised edition vs. second edition? Reprint? Do you need to know the printing terminology?

I recently received an e-mail from a client whose book had been featured in the New York Times, on and throughout regional and local press. After self-publishing, she is now in talks with foreign publishers interested in the international rights. At the same time, she saw the need to update the original US version of the book, which was self published, in order to provide the latest information and advances in the technology she describes at the end of her book.

She wondered, “How much new material is needed for a second edition of a book? Do I need a new ISBN number?” Many authors wonder, “What’s the difference between a revised edition and a new edition of a book? When is it just a reprint?”

When only minor changes are made (such as fixing typos), the new printing would be considered a reprint. Beyond a reprint, if the majority of the material is the same and there are just a few new updates, an author might consider calling the new version a “revised edition” rather than a “second edition.” However, if there is substantial change to the book, “second edition” would be more accurate. The difference between the two is subjective.

Do note that providing the latest data, or the most up-to-date information is certainly a plus from a marketing standpoint–and, therefore, something you want to emphasize to book-buyers. It would certainly be beneficial to state something like, “Revised edition includes new treatment options” on the book’s cover.

Do You Need a New ISBN for a Second Edition?

Photo by Susan Yin Unsplash

To answer the author’s second question: “If a second edition has the same title as the first, does it need a new ISBN?” I checked with Bowker, the issuer of ISBNs and Bowker states, “A new edition is considered a different product and gets its own ISBN.” From reading the Bowker website, it seems clear that new editions also mean revised editions–anything other than a reprint with a few minor fixes.

Do you have any publishing questions? Feel free to ask here as a comment and I will answer!

An Expanded Edition

I recently decided to offer an expanded edition for my book The Joy of Writing Journal: Spark Your Creativity in 8 Minutes a Day.

award winning journal
Here’s the expanded edition

However, when the original version won three book awards (now, it’s four!), I was concerned about whether a new edition would wipe out the reviews and would be considered a new book.

So, I added the new material (exercises to empower readers to create their own writing prompts and use the prompts to generate new material) without changing the rest of the book, enabling me to use the awards on my book cover and in my Amazon description. I did make a few additions to the acknowledgments, as well.

I am using a new ISBN number for this expanded edition. Interested in sparking your writing practice with a daily creative boost? Get Your copy of The Joy of Writing Journal here.

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions


  1. Ralph says

    Many thanks for the very insightful write-up. I am currently revising a book chapter for my mentor as a co-author and my question is how much new information should be added. Nothing much seem to have change in the subject since the 4th edition was written in 2014. Hence, I am struggling to update the chapter with recent literature.

  2. Sheila Gazlay says

    As I understand it, Bowker charges more than anyone else for ISBNs so of course they’d want you to buy a new one. Better to find an independent source for that info. If there is one. ISBNs are not absolutely necessary on books at all, are not the same as barcodes and are part of a bigger myth much like “The Better Business Bureau.”

  3. Heather Mackie says

    How do you handle the authorship when a revision or second edition is from a new author? What is the proper way to show that on a book?

    • Lisa Tener says

      Good question, Heather. I don’t know the answer to that. Are you working with a traditional publisher? If so, they would have the answer. If not, let me see if I can find out. You’re saying that the changes to the new edition are all the new author or old author and new?

    • Howard VanEs says

      Wow, what a great question Heather!

      I asked two of my editors and here Is what each said.

      Editor A:

      You could add them as a co-author or “revised by Author X.” Depending on how the author feels, the ideal situation would be to put both on the cover. If the second author has minimal input and/or the original author doesn’t want that, I’d still include it on the title page.

      Editor B:

      I think it would depend on who holds the original copyright and the contract under which the new author wrote the revision or new edition. Is the new author a work-for-hire? I do know from the US Copyright Office that “When a work is a made for hire, the hiring or commissioning party is considered the author and the copyright owner.” In that case, the original author would be the only person listed on the title page and as the copyright holder.

      I would recommend you speak with the publisher if traditionaly published and consider a consult with a good intellectual property attorney as well.

      Howard VanEs

  4. Frank Borrelli says

    I recently started to write a bio. Then I truly believe that what happened to me does not happen to normal people. I wrote “the skinny kid from the green grass ” I had received fantastic vibes. All true about a kid in an ethnic Italian neighborhood. From the 30, to the 50’s. Kidnapped by my dad and later awarded to my dad. Mother really was uninterested. I could have accept, retreated, resented and been bitter. Instead I attacked like and was an over achiever. Our family now is what I had hoped for–closeness of family. We now have five great grand babies under five and they are cousins that already have had a dozen get togethers..198 pages and 70 more to add.. I paid dearly for a publisher with editing included. Book is on Amazon. The worse editing in the world…I personally corrected 100 mistakes. Ther are still more in the published book. How can I add to it and self publish or is it possible to get a new publisher yet retain my cover and original copy…..please help

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Frank. I am so sorry to hear of your publishing woes. Your publishing journey is not uncommon, unfortunately. You’ll need to look at your publishing agreement to see if you own the right, if they do, if you are required to pay to get out of the agreement. Booklocker is a reputable company and their newsletter and writer’s weekly website alerts writers to scams. They may be able to advise you on whether you could publish with them and get out of your other contract. Good luck.

  5. Sohma Rae Hathaway says

    Thank you so much for your contributions. I always appreciate your insight.
    I’m considering either a revised edition for my book, “Finding Diamonds in Dungeons,” (published 12-1-17) or a sequel. Many of my readers are wanting to hear more but being that is was a memoir, I’m not sure which way to go with that. Some readers want a fiction book with a few “what if” kind of scenarios. I do have additional insights on healing and overcoming hardships that i’d like to share. I’m not sure I have a whole book worth. If I simply do a revision, I have to change my ISBN and I’m assuming that would mean the great reviews I have on Amazon would not carry over. Is that true?

  6. Rosalie Borguilla says

    Hi. How much new material is needed for a book based on another book to be considered a new book altogether (not just a revised or 2nd edition)?

    • Lisa Tener says

      It depends on some details. I am assuming that you wrote both books. Is that correct? If so, I believe you can change the title, cover and ISBN number, as well as however little or much of the content you want.
      The issue would be that people who purchased one and then the other might be upset to find a book that’s very similar to the other. So, it’s more about reader experience than rules.
      I speak from my own experience, where The Ultimate Guide to Transforming Anger was first published as Good and Mad. When the publisher realized that the cover and trim size were not going to sell (bookstores would not carry the book due to the trim size and horizontal orientation for a self-help book), yet we got excellent reviews and publicity, the publisher agreed to republish. However the book needed a new title and new ISBN number for a fresh start.
      Feel free to provide more information about the two books and I may be able to say more.

        • Lisa Tener says

          Hi John, Yes, it’s always a good idea to mention what’s new, fresh and important about the second edition–why readers should read it. You might even pick up sales from readers of the first edition, if they want the new information.

  7. Dr. Richard Ng says

    I wrote a book, titled ‘ A Pain Doctor’s Dilemma, prescribing opioids in an era of overdose ” , which was published by LifeRich Publishing, a subsidiary of Readers Digest about one year ago. I am thinking about doing a second edition with a lot more information to share with the readers. Is it better and easier to go back to the original publisher?

    • Lisa Tener says

      I would think so, Dr. Ng. In particular, your contract may require that, so read the contract first. Were you happy with the first publisher?

  8. Richard Dungan says

    When publishing a second edition, is it necessary to have ‘second edition’ or some similar wording on the front cover? Would it be appropriate to have such wording on the back cover, possibly at the very top, so that it stands out?

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Richard,
      An interesting question. Ususally one would have the information that it is a second edition right below the title on the front cover, as well as on the title page. I’m not a cover design expert, so I am asking my colleague who is to suggest what to do about the back cover. May I ask why you are considering not having that info on the front cover?

    • Howard VanEs says

      Hi Richard,

      Great question! I would highly recommend putting “second edition” on the front and back covers as well as in the book description. By doing so, you clearly differentiate the new edition from the older one quickly and directly. I assume you have new information or updates in the newer version? If so, then a reader might be upset having purchased an older version, if the books are still around, which sometimes they are.

      Also keep in mind that identifying the book as a “second edition” you are conveying that this book was worthy of republishing it, that has withstood the test of time, and perhaps so many people have bought the first edition that it sold out, requiring the second edition. For these reasons, you want potential readers to know this as soon as possible so it is best to indicate “second’ edition right on the front as well as the back cover. Where to specifically to put that information on the covers would be addressed in the design process.
      Hope this helps!

      Howard VanEs

  9. Becky Henry says

    HI Lisa,
    Thank you for your wonderful insights on this topic! I have learned a lot about doing a second edition.

    Can the title be slightly different and still qualify as a “second edition” or does it become a new book? For instance my title is currently, “Just Tell Her To Stop: Family Stories of Eating Disorders” and I’d like to change it to, “Just Tell Them To Stop: Family Stories of Eating Disorders.” I’d like to reflect that all people can develop eating disorders not just females.

    Thank you!
    Becky Henry

  10. Feyi says

    Hi, this post is very useful and thank you. I had a book published by a publisher that I paid. I am making few changes, adding a new chapter to the book and will publish it myself. The title will be the same but the Subtitle different. Can this classify as a second edition? If yes, will it be appropriate to write 2nd edition on the book.

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Feyi, If you are not making substantial changes beyond the added chapter, you might call it a “revised and updated edition.” If there are significant changes elsewhere, it might be a second edition. This post on How Much New Material is Needed for a Second Edition of a Book should answer your question in detail. In general, a second edition would need its own ISBN. Did you retain the copyright when you worked with the paid publisher?

    • Lisa Tener says

      You will need to read the publishing contract you signed with the first publisher. If the contract is confusing, you may need to ask an attorney. Good luck!

  11. Carla Ohse says

    Dear Lisa,
    I wrote a book in 2003 and have now rewrote it as a revised edition. It is fiction but I weave through it the facts about the first Black Resort In the US in 1920’s-1930’s through 1950’s. The main reason I wanted to rewrite it I wanted to make sure everything written about the resort was true. I also was concern of the fictionly story line.
    I live in Michigan and have emailed a Smith Publishing Company out of NJ to launch my Revisted Edition of Noonday Flower and they refused to do it because it was a revisited edition. I was surprised to say the least. Will I have a hard time finding help in marketing my book? I’m 79 years old and not up to date with the social media like other self-published authors, unfortunately.
    Thank You for your time.
    Carla Ohse

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Carla,

      It sounds like a fascinating backdrop to a story. Without the specifics, I don’t know what the issue was. Perhaps they were concerned about copyright. You might ask them what the concern is.

  12. Samara says

    Hello Lisa:

    A quick question,

    I previously published a book on Amazon but now would like update it’s contents and rename it.

    Would it be acceptable to list it as a second edition under it’s new title? Or would listing it as a second edition only apply if I kept the original title?

    • Lisa Tener says

      A second edition generally would have the same title as the first book. However, you can say, “Previously published as…” So that readers know and don’t accidentally buy a book they already own (unless they want the second edition).

  13. Rose Miller says

    I have a POD book with a one publisher, I want to remove and publish under my own ISBN and name. Is it a second edition, or nothing needs to change on cover or copyright page.

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Rose, You’ll need to check your contract with the POD publisher to make sure you can do that. If you are going to use your own ISBN usually that requires a new title and cover or a second edition, I believe.

  14. Margarita says


    I self-published a book of poetry in 2006, I did not get an ISBN but I did register with the Library of Congress and that is all. I sold them locally, had a couple of book signings and once I sold out, never really did much more.

    I am in the process of “re-printing” the title but changing the art cover and working with the original writings in the center of the new book, I will add a chapter in the end and write a new intro/story. How should I label it?

    • Lisa Tener says

      Since you didn’t have an ISBN I don’t think you need to worry about it. Do you think you need to make clear that it’s the same book so people don’t order it twice?

  15. Timothy Maschler says

    Thanks for all your helpful advice!

    I published my wife’s book Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon in 2016. Since then, thanks to people like you, I have become more savvy about self publishing, especially about marketing and promotion. The book received favorable reviews on Amazon, but has not gained much traction. I would like to re-publish the book, correcting a few typos, and perhaps making some updates, utilizing all the new info I have been blessed to learn.

    My 2-part question: (1) If I re-publish Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon as a “revised edition”, will I be able to retain all our five-star reviews? (2) If I assign the current date to the revised edition (say, “Revised Edition, 2019”), will the revised book qualify as being published in 2019? What’s behind my question: I want to enter the book for awards, most of which require a book to be published within the last year or two. The same goes for seeking reviews with sources asking for books only published within the last year.

    Thanks so much for your help!

  16. Lisa Tener says

    Hi Timothy,
    A second edition should have significant new material. A revised edition is probably fine with fewer revisions. Whether awards committees would consider it a new book is unlikely but you should ask them individually. You may find some that would. I have asked a colleague who specializes in Amazon marketing to answer your question about keeping the reviews. I hope to have his answer here shortly.
    He may also have some idea for other ways to refresh the marketing, particularly on Amazon, which doesn’t care about the age of a book.
    Feel free to email / contact me if you want his information or an introduction.

    • Timothy Maschler says

      Thanks very much, Lisa. I look forward to hearing back from you about keeping our reviews via your colleague. Will also contact you about in intro to him.

  17. Howard VanEs says

    Great questions Timothy!

    If you are making a minimal amount of changes (no more than 15- 20 %) to the book you can simply make the changes in the text file re-upload and everything will stay as is.

    On the other hand if you change the title and /or ISBN you will need to unpublish the current book and upload the new file – this will cause the book to appear as a new book and you will loose the existing reviews. It will also make two pages for your book on Amazon with the older version appearing as “out of print.”

  18. Amelia says

    Hi Lisa,

    I read your information explaining the differences between second edition printing and revised edition. I currently own the rights of my first novel which was (unfortunately published by a full-service publishing house). My contract ends with the company in the spring of 2020. It is with intent to seek and enlist the help of a literary agent to have the book reprinted to correct the typographical errors incurred from the first printing. So it will be considered under the category of revised edition according to your comments.

    I also feel that the book could’ve also been further promoted had I had the backing of a literary agent and a notable- traditional publishing company that isn’t afraid to take a chance on a first time author. I was promised I would receive my investment back in full after I shelled out the upfront fee to have the book printed in the first place. Have yet to recoup the first 100.00 back in over two years. (Live and learn). Everybody who writes, feels they have something worthy to say. I certainly feel this way about my efforts with my first project. Amazingly, I drew a substantial audience on good reads and and have received a 4.5 rating overall and 2 written reviews (I know about). I’m hoping that the second time around, I will have a chance for better exposure and interest.

    Thank you for time to read this.

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Amelia, Congratulations on your excellent book reviews. I am sorry to hear you had such a bad experience self-publishing. There are many “bad actors” out there in the self-publishing world and one does have to be careful of them. In terms of attracting a traditional publisher and literary agent, both will want to know that you are the kind of author who will go out there and sell books. Publishers see you as a “publishing partner” and expect you to do the lion’s share. A literary agent will be interested if you’ve sold a large number of books. If not, you may want to self publish again, but this time with Kindle Direct or Igram Spark, knowing that you will still need to do the marketing and book sales.

      • Amelia says

        Thanks for responding back.

        I see. The best way I knew how to get the word out about my book has been through promotional advertising by vista print. I ordered vehicle decals to display on the sides of van every time I frequented the usual errand stops. I’ve also held at least two book giveaways on goodreads(as was instructed by the publisher of my book). And I’ve had one book signing. I tried to schedule a signing with B&N, but they turned me down because I’m an unknown author. Other than that, I don’t know what else to do. It’s very expensive to make a public announcement by radio and media outlets (none of which I can afford). If I was John Grisham, I’d have no problem.

        • Lisa Tener says

          I would recommend doing more research about your target market. Find out where they hang out (online and offline) and perhaps you can reach them through articles on websites they visit, through social media and in person (author talks or workshops). I also recommend you have a business plan for your book so you are clear how you will make money with the book and not lose money (on PR that doesn’t pay for itself, for example, vs. PR that sells other services, products or programs). Good luck!

    • Lisa Tener says

      Yes, you can change the title. You will need a new ISBN. And I do encourage you to put mention on the back cover that it is a second edition or revision of FORMER TITLE.
      You want former readers who want a second edition to know that and you also don’t want people who read the first and don’t want to purchase the new version to be confused.
      Good luck!

  19. Elstan Fernandez says

    Please may I know if every edition is considered a separate book or is it counted as one book?
    May be a silly one :) but it took me almost 16 yrs to reach the 10th edition of one of my books and each edition of my books take about one to two years atleast.

    • Lisa Tener says

      Congratulations. That’s quite an accomplishment. A new edition, as you probably know, is considered a new product and gets its own ISBN. However, I think most people would consider them the same book when saying, “He is author of x number books.” So, for instance, you might say his book, TITLE, is in the 10th edition. That’s impressive. But I would not say 10 books. PS From your website, I see you have 6 awards and over 40,000 books sold. Congratulations!

  20. Joe Sadusky says

    Hi Lisa,

    My question is an offshoot of this main topic. If I have a self-published book that isn’t getting much exposure, and I’d like to submit it to a traditional publisher, do I need to make changes and call it a 2nd edition, or can I submit the existing version (with maybe some minor changes)? If submitting the same version is OK, do I need to let the publisher know that it was previously self-published? Thanks.

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Joe,
      Congratulations on writing and publishing your book. That is more than most people accomplish! Almost any publisher is going to want to see that the author is good at selling the book. So, if sales are poor, it would be an uphill battle to convince a traditional publisher to take it on unless there is some really big thing I don’t know about that would make it convincing.
      The magic number that gets bandied about is that if the author sells 15,000 copies that begins to be of interest to publishers. Truth is it can be a smaller number depending on the publisher and market. For a smaller publisher and niche market it does not have to be 15,000 but it does almost always need to be significant.
      Publishers would likely see that you had published before and look up your sales numbers through Bookscan.

  21. Diane says

    It’s so wonderful that you take time to answer all the questions. I hope you’ll have one for me. We started off wanting to change the title and update info to fit the new title. Now we’ve decided to change the direction and take it from making the case for the system to making it a how to book that can really be used to make a difference. So less theory and more action. This means the core model is the same but the supporting info and text will be different. Approx 70% will be new. So can this be Co stirred a new book that would qualify for the first right of refusal in our contract with publisher? Oh and the 30% that stays the same we held the rights to that in our original contract because it’s the core of our business and we own the trademark. Thank you for any information on how the % of content plays a role in new book vs anything else.

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Diane,
      My educated guess is that this could be considered a new book, especially if the 30% you do retain gets some rewording, new examples, etc. I would recommend revising that 30% as well, so that it truly feels like a new book to people who read the first. Plus it’s always good to add fresh examples, etc.
      So, yes. Do you have an agent? If not, I would advise going to your publisher with the new content for their right of first refusal. Best of luck to you!

    • Lisa Tener says

      The typical number is 30%. If the book is in the fields of science, technology or another field that changes rapidly, you may want to make even more changes just to make it up to date. So, do consider what changes are needed for the book to be current, as well, not just the minimum one can get away with.

  22. David B says

    Thanks, Lisa. A great guide. In Canada, ISBN’s are free and gov’t organized but you do need to create a publishers name as they’re only issued to “publishers.” Doesn’t have to be a formal org though. And not a bad idea if you’re self-publishing to have a named publisher.

    The disadvantage of a new ISBN is that the sales records start from scratch. The advantage is it clearly marks a new edition. Just fixing some typos in a book. Debating if I want to update it a bit and trigger a new edition…

  23. Denise Johnson says

    I’m a first-time self-publishing author who, unbeknownst to me, had errors in my first book. I was so embarrassed and saddened to have a reviewer give me 3 out of 4 stars, noting the loss of a full star due to editing errors. Now, I feel the need to correct the book and re-release. Reading here, you suggest a “reissue” as opposed to a second edition. Where would that show up on the book? I’m planning on including part of the new review on the back, too.

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Denise,
      Sadly, many editors miss things. It’s good to have a proofreader do a final pass. I’m not sure you want to have anything about a re-release show up unless you are adding new content. Just fix the errors and at the end of the book, encourage readers to review the book if they enjoyed it. THe more reviews you get, the more it helps your book show up in Amazon searches. You could use the re-release as an opportunity to re-launch with the help of an Amazon marketing expert, as well. They can look at your keywords, categories and suggest a strategy for sales.

  24. Judy Umlas says

    My company would like to do a second or revised edition of a book I wrote in 2006 called The Power of Acknowledgment. Since then, I’ve written two more, one for kids on this theme and one for leaders (Grateful Leadership) and we’d like to market the original book more widely. Is it enough to merit a second edition of the original book by just adding some testimonials and a page describing the other two books as well as the Center for Grateful Leadership ( we started after the leadership book was published? Or do you think I need more new content to merit either?

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Judy, That is not enough to merit a second edition but you could just add those changes and put the new version on Amazon (with testimonials and mention of the new books). That way, any new buyers would see that new content, which benefits your company. But no, that’s not a second edition. Congrats though on the first book and two more! Plus the excellent testimonials it sounds like you have gotten from the first!

  25. Paula says

    Hi there – this page is awesome!

    I’ve published a picture book children’s story that includes 20 spreads (40 pages). If I add six spreads (12 pages) to expound upon the open ended story, do I have to change the title or isbn? Is this a revision or a new edition? And if it’s a 2nd edition, will I have to unpublish the first? And would I need a new isbn then? Thanks so much!

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Paula, I’m asking a colleague who knows children’s book publishing. Was this book self-published or traditionally published? Do you own the copyright?

  26. Dana Newman says

    Regarding the copyright, if an author makes minor changes to an existing work (e.g. typo corrections, changing a chapter title), a new copyright registration is not needed. However, making significant revisions or additions to a previous book would be considered a derivative work under copyright law. The copyright holder has the exclusive right to create derivative works based on their original, however, a second copyright is necessary to cover the new material.

  27. Jeaninne Stokes says

    Lisa, thanks for this helpful article. I know it’s an old article (2014) but I found it good reading because I am trying to determine if my book should be considered a second edition and I hope you can still answer my question.

    I am getting ready to publish a book again and would like to use the same title from a book I published in 2015. The table of Contents for the new book is similar to the TOC for the first book,, but the subtitle and some of the content has change. For example, I wrote the first book in devotional format but wrote the second book as a narrative memoir with application questions at the end of each chapter, although as I mentioned, I am sharing the same story of my writing journey. Should I call this book a second edition if I am using the same title I used for the first book? Should I just say the book has been “Completely Expanded and revised” or something to that effect or do I just need to say this book is a second edition?

    • Lisa Tener says

      These are great questions, Jeaninne. In this case, I think you have some leeway to decide. It sounds like the changes are substantial enough to call it a second edition, but if you prefer to say “completely expanded and revised” that should be okay as well. However, if you are going to have a new ISBN number because it is a second edition, that could help insure that people don’t accidentally buy the older book and return it or get upset that they didn’t get the version they wanted.

      • Jeaninne Stokes says

        Thanks Lisa for answering my questions; this feedback is very helpful and yes, I do plan to have a new ISBN number for this second edition. I actually am not offering the first edition in print anymore for sale because I wasn’t pleased with the first edition. Thanks again for the feedback as I prepare to publish again.

        • Jeaninne Stokes says

          Lisa, please indulge me for one more question: So If I”m clear, if the book is written in a different format than the first edition and the subtitle is slightly different, I should still list it as a second edition, since the title and the TOC are similar? Correct?

          • Lisa Tener says

            If the content is similar, yes. If the content is completely different you might now, but it sounds similar enough from what I understand.

  28. Kenia says

    My father wrote an autobiography last year and many of the people who read the book asked him to elaborate on some points. The original book was self-published with a company but owning the writes to his story we would like to self publish the book again with Amazon. The new book will have more details and address the questions asked from the previous book. His story is of being born in Cuba before the revolution and the struggles he encountered in getting our family out of Cuba and to the US. Would this be considered a revision? and could it be published under a different title while referencing the original title “previously published under”

    • Lisa Tener says

      Kenia, it can be published under a new title and with a new ISBN number but then you definitely want to make that clear because you don’t want previous readers to buy the book thinking this is a completely different book by the same author. If revisions are substantial it can be considered a new edition. Otherwise, maybe just say “revised with new content” or something more specific.

  29. Jane Thomas says

    I am struggling to get Amazon to recognise that they should not replace a first edition with a second edition.

    I published Ways Women Orgasm in 2011.

    Next I intend publishing a second edition of the same book, with substantially revised content to include comments I have received since the first edition.

    On KDP I have put ‘Second Edition’ on the detail page. Each book has a separate ISBN.

    But when I published the second edition (by mistake), they simply replaced the first edition. They no longer showed the first edition for sale.

    I do not seem to be able to find anyone at KDP who understands that even though the books have the same title, they should be treated as separate books.

    Do you have any advice for me?


  30. Howard VanEs says

    Hi Jane, it would be great if we could have our way with Amazon, but unfortunately we have to play by their rules. When you upload a second edition, they the keep the first edition up, but label it “Out of print.” So it shows, but a customer could not purchase it. If this not happening for you and want it to happen or have other KDP concerns, you can contact them directly via your KDP acct. Just click on help and follow the prompts. In the future, if you want to create a significantly updated version and want to keep the first version up, then it would make sense to create a new but related title. When I went to Amazon to view your book, I saw two versions of the paperback – both published back in 2011. This is a bit confusing and for some reason one version shows two dates – 2011 and the year 1750 – which obviously is some kind of mistake. At the very least, I would have a look at your Amazon sales pages and then contact KDP to clear up the confusion and the duplicate copy. I also notice that there isn’t a Kindle version of your book yet, which could be a great opportunity for more sales and putting up the version of the book you most want to have up now.
    Hope this helps.

  31. Gini Moore says

    Hi Lisa, my mum’s book was published in 2006 and sadly passed away the year. We are looking to re-publish the book with a new intro and some updating so that it looks fresh, would this be a revised and updated version? Would this be added to the acknowledgements page?

    Thanks, Gini

  32. Lisa Tener says

    Gina, I am sorry about your mum. It is beautiful that she has a legacy through the book and that your family is help her continue to make a difference in the world with it.
    I would say, unless you are adding new chapters or making substantial changes it would be a revised and updated version, yes.

  33. Jonathan says

    Hi, great information, thank you! What about this scenario:
    I if i make a new edition of a crafts project book to include more projects, but the subtitle of the original edition is “10 Simple Projects”, can the subtitle be changed to “20 simple projects”, or just “simple projects”? Can the title actually be changed like this and still be able to call it a second edition of the same book?

    Thanks so much in advance for any insights!

  34. Howard VanEs says

    Johnathan, there is good news and not so good news here. You can change the subtitle of the Kindle version of your book without any issues – that is the good news. The not so good news is that if you are going to change the subtitle or title on your paperback book then you will have to get a new ISBN and create a new record. One idea for you is if you are going to add 10 new projects, can you add another 10? Then, instead of changing the first book you can create a second book: “20 MORE Simple Projects.” Just an idea!

  35. Lisa Tener says

    Thank you for weighing in Howard! Jonathan, Howard is my go-to expert for everything Amazon–publishing to marketing. His website is

  36. Alex says

    Hello, I hope you can help me. Back in 2018 I had my short story published by a publishing house. He insisted that there was no need for a contract even if I asked for one. He tried to print my book but after some failed attempts(bad printing and cut) and two years of patience I asked him to stop the process. The publisher agreed but informed me that he had it typically published as a first edition and he had already sold a few of the failed books (2 or 3 copies).

    My questions are these. Can I include this book as a chapter to a new book and publish it by a different publisher? Could this be a new book or would it be a second edition? Does the “no contract” prevent me from doing something like this?

    Thank you for your time

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Alex,
      I am sorry to hear you had such a bad experience with the publisher. This is really a question for an intellectual property attorney. Do you have your request in writing or an email where you asked him to stop the process? And also do you have an email from him that says there is no need for a contract? I’ll see if I can tap an intellectual property attorney I know to respond to this.

      • Alex says

        Thank you so much for your quick answer!
        Unfortunately only the details about the book printing where contacted by mail. I tried to meet an ip attorney but when we spoke in the phone he said that he couldn’t help.

        I am grateful for your time

  37. Lynn says

    I published my book with a small, specialized (niche) publisher in 2019. I’m happy with the publisher and the results – but for several reasons I’m in the process of negotiating with that publisher – who will cease publication and revert the publishing rights to me. I will then self publish the book. I will obtain a new ISBN, and add a preface to the book to re-introduce it. Will this be a second edition? Based on your article and comments, it sounds like an updated and revised edition. But it will certainly have to change on Amazon. Would it make a difference if I add a new chapter about the pandemic? Any other thoughts or suggestions are welcome!

    • Lisa Tener says

      Are you going to be making more changing that just adding a preface? If just a preface, I’d even be hesitant to call it updated and revised, unless you are truly making updates and revisions in addition to the preface. If a chapter about the pandemic is relevant to the book and most readers, I would add it. Perhaps the best thing you can do is have a few beta readers in your target market skim the book and tell you what they would like you to expand on or don’t see here. Also check your Amazon reviews and see if there are any things readers especially love that you can expand on, or any things they didn’t like or felt were missing. Will readers who bought the first edition benefit from this newer version? If so, that may be another reason to warrant calling it a second edition. If not, you may disappoint readers who bought the first edition and then the second, expecting more new material.

    • cathy says

      Hello Lisa, I’m asking a question here related to your various posts on this subject. I’m in a tight spot, just about to send off final file to the printer. I hope you can respond soon.
      I published a niche coffee table large format hardcover book end of 2020. I’m ordering a new set of prints now, 4 months later. I have included another 4 pages (or 2 spreads) with new material, and one more photo as another spread. The Table of contents page count appears the same, as this new material fits into the right places with not further chapters.
      Q: using the same ISBN and jacket /cover and amazon description would be the ideal answer. I much prefer to call this a ‘second printing’.is it necessary that I also say on the Copyright page in the book, ‘with additional material” or similar? Or not put more than ‘Second printing’.
      Q: Where exactly does one list that on the CR page? Thank you very very much!

      • Lisa Tener says

        Hi Cathy, I think saying “with a additional material” or “4 more pages of exquisite photos added” (or number of photos) might be the way to do it on the book back cover or front cover itself and in the amazon description.
        Unless it’s a very short book it doesn’t sound like enough material for a second edition. yes use the same ISBN.
        Where on the copyright page? I don’t think you’ll need to change the copyright page but I’ll ask a colleague who does printing.

  38. Lynn says

    Thank you! So, if I make no changes other than a preface, what would you call it? I don’t expect those who bought the book to buy another – so I want to be clear. I’m ok to leave it as is – but I’m not sure what will be required by Amazon, etc.

    • Lisa Tener says

      You’ll need to check with Amazon, but probably best to say “revised with a new preface.” I would encourage you to consider additional changes your readers my want to see and, again, if a chapter on effects of the pandemic is warranted, by all means add it.

      • Lynn Ierardi says

        Thanks again, Lisa. I’m writing a new chapter to add to the book. I’ve secured the publishing rights and will self publish it this time. I appreciate your advice!

    • Lisa Tener says

      You could consider it a second edition and clarify that the changes are the illustrations. Or you could just say “updated” or “with new illustrations.” It’s flexible and up to you. Is this nonfiction or fiction? if nonfiction, the one caveat of saying it’s a second edition is that readers may expect new material. If fiction, that is not an issue.

  39. Andrea Molberg PhD Consulting Psychologist says

    Thanks for the wonderful help you provide! People have encouraged me to (1) delete a couple of political chapters and appendices related to the 2016 and 2020 elections and (2) expand a current chapter or two of my Amazon published EMERGENCY KIT for FINDING COMMON GROUND: HELPING AMERICANS GET ALONG. Why? To make the practical toolkit less focused on de-polarization and more relevant to managing difficult interactions about personal and professional issues as well as political ones. The book was an Amazon bestseller and international bestseller when launched in July 2020 as an ebook and paperback with about 500 copies sold. and

    Some current chapters could remain as they are for a new book until a title like HOW TO GET ALONG: TOOLS FOR TOUGH CONVERSATIONS AND CONFLICT.

    I don’t want those who purchased the original to buy again, but I want to get the practical conflict/relationship/influence/coping skills out to those who want better ways to talk to family, friends, and colleagues. Can both the original book remain in print (and its reviews) alongside a second book with a different title and ISBN? What percentage could be used in a new book?

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Andrea,
      Yes, you can publish a new book. It sounds like the new book will have much new material. But I would advise saying in your description, “Much of this material was originally published under the title “xyz.” New material includes blah blah blah. That way your past readers realize the books are largely the same material but there is some new info if they want that enough to purchase again. Hopefully that would prevent people from buying it again without realizing and then giving a bad review, which, of course, you want to avoid.

        • Lisa Tener says

          Hi Andrea. This post on what publishers expect in a book promotion plan provides an overview of book promotion. While it’s focused on what to put in your book proposal. it can also serve as a great blueprint. You don’t have to do everything listed there but pick and choose those items that play to your strengths, skills and interest, as well as are likely to connect you with your core readers / target audience. There are some good gurus out there. Feel free to email me if you want introductions to some people who can help you. I updated the post today so that it’s current!

  40. Pam Jenkins says

    An online textbook company is eager for me to do a second edition of their text that concerns world music. what questions should I ask? I’m wondering, obviously, what the sales are. They’ve offered a 20% commission. How does this impact the original author? I don’t know what rights she relinquished. This would be a major re-working of the content while still retaining the “bones” of her work.
    Thank you very much.

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Pam, Congratulations on this opportunity. Definitely ask about sales. Also ask what percentage they expect you to rework, or if you have a strong sense of how much revision you believe it needs, then start with your goals and confirm that they are on the same page. Is the commission on sales or profit? If profit, companies can be very good at showing no profit by adding in administrative costs, thereby providing no commission. So it’s really important what that 20% is from. I would advise you to have an agent or attorney look over the contract. If you want a referral, email me and I will introduce you to the IP attorney who is also a literary agent who has helped me clients. I think she charges a flat fee and I can give you more info if you email me. The agent or attorney can also come up with additional issues to address. As to the original author, you can ask the publisher about the original author’s rights as well. My guess is she gave them up but they can tell you.

  41. Jane Sweet says

    Enjoyed your article. I initially copyrighted my novel in 2016 but it went through four years of tweaking and critique groups. I didn’t publish the original, so should I even bother with “revised version” or “revised edition” on the copyright page? And should I re-copyright it as a “revised version”. The major premise/characters remained the same. It’s just revamped and cleaned up. Thanks.


    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Jane. That’s a great question. If you didn’t publish it before you do not need to call it a revised edition or revised version. It’s the first edition you are publishing. You could re-copyright it but your work is considered automatically copyrighted so you don’t have to. Every newly published book has its own ISBN number which you purchase from Bowker here.

  42. Lorraine Ballato says

    Hello: I have several questions having to do with my 2018 book. I have added about 30 photos to blank spaces (which changes the index and photo credits) and added less than 5 pages of new material (to an original 196 page book). Is this “revised” or “updated”? Do I need a new ISBN and LCCN? Do I lose existing Amazon reviews? Book has been an Amazon best seller in several categories throughout its life: Success With Hydrangeas, a Gardener’s Guide.
    Thank you.

    • Lisa Tener says

      Congratulations on your success with this book. It sounds great!
      It’s not a new edition but either updated or revised would be fine. I would also recommend highlighting on the front or back cover, “revised with 30 new photographs and tips for x.” [or whatever the new information is in those 5 pages].
      I would not change the ISBN number or you will lose your book reviews on Amazon. This last bit about LCCN I had to look up: “The LCCN is assigned to the work itself and doesn’t change with each new edition or version.” – from Go Publish Yourself

  43. Melinda J McManus says

    I’ve been asked to edit a book on communication skills, originally published in 2001 by a notable communications training expert. In addition to multiple grammatical/typo improvements, I’m noticing that many of the exceptional speakers referenced are probably not going to be familiar to the current reader. Sadly, the author is now deceased and his family continues the training business, using the book as part of the training sessions. The book was written casually, in a conversational tone. How you you recommend that I make the content relevant to today’s clients since it was written over 20 years ago by a man no longer living who might not even have known of the more current references I’m replacing the old with? Also, I assume you’d say this would constitute a second edition (rather than just revised)?

    • Lisa Tener says

      It sounds like it would be ideal to make this a second edition and perhaps even have a “with” on the cover. to indicate that it’s been updated. You could suggest two options to the family: 1. You do the research, including interviewing and quoting current experts and studies, and your name be on the cover as a “with” (ideally) or without your name if they are not open to it. 2. They find a current expert to contribute to the book and update anything that’s out of date and add new information. That person could be on the cover as a “with.”

  44. G. Rolfe says

    If I have a publishing agreement for my 1st edition, does that publisher have the same exclusive right to publish my 2nd edition?

    • Lisa Tener says

      Likely, yes, unless the rights revert to you after a certain time. But you should read the contract to see what it says. If the book has gone out of print, sometimes you can buy back the rights or they may even revert to you. Check the contract.

  45. Daniel Radical says

    Hello Lisa,
    Thank you for the informative post.
    Have a question on whether to use revised edition or second edition.
    I self published a Christian teaching book early last year and now i feel i need to add some new detail basically with few new scriptural references as well as explanations of some concepts. I also want to use smaller print margins which might add to the total pages of the book. The rest of the book layout and typeset will remain the same.
    Would this be a revised edition or second edition? Do i need an new isbn for a revised edition?
    Thank you

    • Lisa Tener says

      That sounds like a revised edition, as it’s not enough new material to call it a second edition. You may want to keep the same ISBN code if it’s on Amazon and just update the files. Then you get to keep all your Amazon reviews for the book. And you can add “expanded edition” to the cover!

  46. Samina Uddin Siddiqui says

    Hi Lisa,
    I have self published. A very important photo was left out. I also now have a foreword. I also have added photos from my book launch.
    Do I need a new ISBN? I can reduce the photos to 3. But definitely need the important one & the foreword.

    Do I need a new ISBN?

    Thank you so much!

    Samina Uddin

    • Lisa Tener says

      If it were me, I would just update the book without purchasing a new ISBN for a second edition; this sounds like insufficient changes to require a second edition and new ISBN. I am not sure of the value of including book launch photos in the actual book and it might seem odd but without knowing more about it, I cannot say.

    • Lisa Tener says

      It sounds like not enough revisions that it needs to say “revised” but you could say updated with new photos on the back cover or in the description if you want. And I’m not sure but you may be able to add your foreword writer as an author if you want to. If they are famous and it’s meaningful to your target audience then it’s something to consider.

  47. Sharon L Benedict says

    Need your input. I have a 2010 recipe book that was never published but was copyrighted. I now have finished a significantly revised recipe book with many additional recipes. This revised book will be published via Amazon Kindle, ebook and paperback. I will also be copyrighting it and getting an ISBN number for the revised version.

    Do I add to the revised book title “2nd edition”? Or something else, like “updated version”? The 2010 book was copyrighted (no ISBN) with same title I am using for the revised version. Your input appreciated.

    • Lisa Tener says

      Since you never published, I would just leave it as the book title. You don’t need to say 2nd edition or updated version. A title itself cannot be copyright or trademarked – anyone can use it. So it’s fine to just publish as the first version since it is the first to be published.

  48. Howard Winet says

    I have discovered numerous typos in my textbook, published by CRC Press. In some cases the paragraphs are unreadable. I should like to approach the editor to issue a re-edited version. I suspect this may incur some cost to me. I have no idea what amounts may be involved. I may wish to update a few cases as well. Would you give me a heads-up about what I can expect?

    • Lisa Tener says

      Did CRC send you a proof to sign off on? And did they send you a galley proof before publishing? What does it say in your contract about corrections?
      I would think that if they skipped a step it would be on them to correct it. And the problems sound significant enough that I would think it behooves them to do so. But it might depend on your contract. Did you work with a literary agent or just the publisher directly?

  49. Kristina says

    Hi Lisa,
    Thank you so much for all the helpful advice! I self published a children’s book in 2015, and have recently made significant revisions. I’m pretty certain I will need a new copyright, in which case it will be a second edition. I’m also planning to unpublish the first edition, shortly after the second edition is published. My question is, which year should I put after the copyright symbol, or should I have both years? i.e. Copyright © 2015 (my name) or Copyright © 2015, 2023 (my name). I’ve spent days trying to find the answer to this question, to no avail. Thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it.

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Kristina,
      Thanks for your patience. I checked in with my colleague, Literary Agent and Intellectual Property Attorney, Dana Newman.
      Here’s what she said, “I’d like to understand what they mean by “unpublish” the first version. It’s published. If they are no longer going to sell it, that’s taking it out of circulation. But the copyright on the first version/edition still holds. The author would want that to remain, especially since version 2 is a derivative of version 1.

      “For the second edition, they should use the current year for the copyright, e.g. [TITLE OF BOOK], Second Edition, © Copyright 2023.

      “Copyright runs for the life of the author plus 70 years. So especially if the new version contains significant changes from the first version, the author would want the additional protection.

      “Also, they should register the new work with the copyright office.”
      I hope that clarifies! Good luck.

  50. Cindy Baehl-de-Lescure says

    Hi Lisa, so glad I stumbled upon you while searching the differences between reprint, revised, and second edition. I “self-published” with Balboa in 2016 a children’s book. I checked with them and I do hold the intellectual rights to my book and they do still sell my book. I want to change the cover, and I’d like to change one word in the title (not totally necessary), and I no longer want Balboa Press associated with the new version book. I want to self-publish it with KDP, I think. #1 Can I do this and would Balboa have any rights to the revised version? #2 With the changes I want to make is this a reprint, revised, or second edition? And how would that change copyright and ISBN, if at all?

    • Lisa Tener says

      The main thing you would need to do is check your contract with Balboa.
      Does it say you can cease publication through them after a certain amount of time?
      And you would check with KDP as well. Who owns the ISBN? If the ISBN is under Balboa’s account, most likely, you will need a new ISBN. Ideally, you would buy your own ISBN from Bowker and not use an Amazon ISBN. Amazon offers both options – just be sure to pick the right onw. If you change the title, you’ll probably need to say in the description that this is previously published under the title xxxxx. I am also going to ask my colleague Howard Van Es to comment here as he is a publishing professional and helps authors publish with Amazon KDP so he knows all the ins and outs of that, which is not part of my expertise.

  51. Howard VanEs says

    Hi Cindy, these are great questions! While it is most likely that you have rights to your book and can probably do anything you want with it, as Lisa pointed out, it is best to double check with your contract or agreement with Balboa. You will need to contact them and ask them to unpublish your book. As for the new version, if you are changing even one word in the title then you will need a new ISBN and the record that goes with that. Given that you are making it a new title, then it is simply that – a new title.This would be the simplest thing to do. If for some reason you wanted to connect the book to a prior version with a slightly different title, then you can mention what the first book was titled in the book description. For example, you can put: “Publisher’s note: This book was originally published as “name of the book”. You also have the option of publishing it as a second edition, (according to Amazon).You will have to weigh the benefits of doing that. Either way you will need a new ISBN. If you prior book has sold a lot of copies, then you would want to reference it. If however it didn’t do well, then not sure what you gain by making it a “second edition.” Howard VanEs,

  52. Luthie says

    i have a fantasy fiction which currently has an excerpt of another story in the back. This other story/book has its own ISBN. It is my intention to remove this material and all mention of upcoming books from the back entirely as I’ve decided to stop writing for an indefinite time. It will reduce the size of the book by many pages, but i am neither revising nor editing any story content at all. Does this constitute a new edition?

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Luthie, That’s an excellent question. I think it would be considered the same edition since you are not editing content.

      • Luthie says

        Thank you, Lisa. I thought as much but hadn’t reached out about it before now. I’m waiting for a couple more editors’ thoughts and believe we’ll all agree.
        You do a great service and are very much appreciated for it.

  53. R.E. says

    Thank you for this article, it has been helpful. I do have a question. If I were to republish my children’s book what type of edition would it be? The title would change; author name; a prologue would be added; corrections, changes to text – rewording paragraphs, new dedication and author bio. same illustrations, new interior design and new but possibly similar cover with new blurb on the back. the prologue which is short and foreshadows a character in the story. The story and messages are the same but it would read somewhat differently. I think those would be the changes. I’m not sure what this adds up to….any guidance is much appreciated ?

  54. John Winkler says

    Hello Lisa
    A book by Nate Hendley and published by Lorimer Books was published from 2007 to 2017 under the title The Black Donnellys.
    In 2018, the book was republished under the new title Black Donnellys. The book also has a new cover and includes photos.
    The book also no longer presents itself as a work of nonfiction. The cover of the earlier edition advertised the book as true crime, biography.
    Should the Publication Block state that the book is a new edition?

    • Lisa Tener says

      Thanks, John. This one is tricky, since it sounds like it’s not a lot of new material (is that right?) but that it is actually categorized in a different genre now. I do not know the answer offhand but I am going to ask a colleague and see if I can get you an answer.

    • Lisa Tener says

      John, I checked in with my colleague, Bryna Haynes, founder of WorldChangers Media. Bryna said, at first glance, “It’s only a new edition if there’s a new ISBN number associated with it. So, if they simply updated the book and kept everything else the same, it wouldn’t be a new edition, only an update/reprint.
      However, with the change in genre, I’m assuming that the ISBN and other metadata factors HAVE been updated, so in that case, it would be helpful to state that it’s a new edition or even treat it as a new book altogether.”
      Usually people to expect new material with a new edition, so you might also consider whether you have other changes you’d like to make, or any new material to add.

      • John Winkler says

        Hi Lisa
        I compared the ISBN number from the 2009, 2014 publication with the 2018 publication, and they are different. So according to your colleague, I’m assuming this would be a new edition.
        The genre actually didn’t change. The 2018 publication is still catalogued as nonfiction, however, no where on the front and back cover, as well as the introduction does the book present itself as a work of nonfiction.
        Actually, It has been proven that the 2018 publication contains fiction, however the publisher did not report that information during the Publication Application Process. I believe the book should be catalogued as “Historical Fiction.”

        • Lisa Tener says

          The thing about a new edition is that readers expect new content. So, you might consider whether you have any new content to offer.
          When my first published book came out, the publisher made some errors and decided to republish the book with a new ISBN and new cover and dimensions (but not new content). What they did to make sure it didn’t confuse readers was to mention it’s the same book as the previous title. That way, readers would not accidentally order both. I don’t think you would have that problem since your titles are so similar (just “The” being the one difference). So probably no one will buy both books.

          • John Winkler says

            Hi Lisa
            The 2018 publication is described as being updated to include numerous black and white and color photos pertaining to the Donnelly family.
            The text hasn’t changed, but would the numerous new photo’s be considered new content?

          • Lisa Tener says

            I would consider the photos new content. You could even put that informaiton (with x new photos!) on the cover or back cover.

  55. John Winkler says

    Hi Lisa
    I have another question regarding the “nonfiction” book titled The Black Donnellys by Nate Hendley that I hope you and your colleagues can help me with.
    If the text in a book remains the same, but the book “The Black Donnellys” has been re-titled “Black Donnellys” and the book has a different cover, numerous new photo’s and the cover of the book as well as the introduction no longer present the book as a work of nonfiction, and the book is found to contain fiction, would the book be considered a new work?


    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi John,
      I apologize for my delayed reply. I was on vacation last week. This is tricky. If the work was rpesented as nonfiction but has some fiction in it, perhaps it’s best to present the work as creative nonfiction? Then within the text you can have a note to readers explaining what parts are fictionalized. It probably would be considered a new work, with what you present here, requiring a new ISBN. If you are concerned readers may accidentaly buy a book they basically already have (and give you low ratings on Amazon, as well as feel frustrated), it may be a good idea to indicate in the book description that this is basically the same work as (original title) and that new photos have been added.

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