The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique International Publisher’s Identifier number, which is meant for monograph publications. ISBN is the thirteen-digit number, which replaces the handling of long bibliographic descriptive records. ISBN is known throughout the world as a short and clear machine-readable identification number, which marks any book unmistakably. ISBN is a machine readable in the form of 13-digit i.e. Book land EAN Bar Code.
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The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally.
The purpose of the ISBN is to establish and identify one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors.
Every ISBN consists of thirteen digits and whenever it is printed it is preceded by the letters ISBN. The thirteen-digit number is divided into four parts of variable length, each part separated by a hyphen.
You can register The four parts of an ISBN are as follows: Group or country identifier which identifies a national or geographic grouping of publishers; Publisher identifier which identifies a particular publisher within a group; Title identifier which identifies a particular title or edition of a title; Check digit is the single digit at the end of the ISBN which validates the ISBN. Click here to apply.
In the case of the check digit, the last digit of the ISBN, the upper case X can appear. The method of determining the check digit for the ISBN is the modulus 11 with the weighting factors 10 to 1. The Roman numeral X is used in lieu of 10 where ten would occur as a check digit.
An ISBN should be assigned to each title or product, including any backlist or forthcoming titles. Each format or binding must have a separate ISBN (i.e. hardcover, paperbound, VHS video, laserdisc, e-book format, etc). A new ISBN is required for a revised edition. Once assigned, an ISBN can never be reused. An ISBN is printed on the lower portion of the back cover of a book above the bar code and on the copyright page.
The ISBN Agency assigns ISBNs at the direct request of publishers, e-book publishers, audio cassette and video producers, software producers and museums and associations with publishing programs.
Allow 10 business days for non-priority processing from the time an ISBN application is received at the agency (not from the date sent by the publisher.) Priority processing is two business days from the time an application is received at the agency. Express processing is 24 business hours.
There are over 160 ISBN Agencies worldwide, and each ISBN Agency is appointed as the exclusive agent responsible for assigning ISBNs to publishers residing in their country or geographic territory. The United States ISBN Agency is the only source authorized to assign ISBNs to publishers supplying an address in the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico and its database establishes the publisher of record associated with each prefix. Once an ISBN publisher prefix and associated block of numbers has been assigned to a publisher by the ISBN Agency, the publisher can assign ISBNs to publications it holds publishing rights to.
However, after the ISBN Agency assigns ISBNs to a publisher, that publisher cannot resell, re-assign, transfer, or split its list of ISBNs among other publishers. These guidelines have long been established to ensure the veracity, accuracy and continued utility of the international ISBN standard. As defined by the ISO Standard, the ISBN publisher prefix (or “root” of the ISBN) identifies a single publisher. If a second publisher subsequently obtains an ISBN from the assigned publisher’s block of ISBNs, there will be no change in the publisher of record for any ISBN in the block as originally assigned. Therefore, searches of industry databases for that re-assigned ISBN will identify the original owner of that assigned prefix as the publisher rather than the second publisher.
Discovering this consequence too late can lead to extensive costs in applying for a new prefix, re-assigning a new ISBN, and potentially leading to the application of stickers to books already printed and in circulation. If you are a new publisher, you should apply for your own ISBN publisher prefix and plan to identify and circulate your books properly in the industry supply chain. You may encounter offers from other sources to purchase single ISBNs at special offer prices; you should be wary of purchasing from these sources for the reasons noted above. There are unauthorized re-sellers of ISBNs and this activity is a violation of the ISBN standard and of industry practice. A publisher with one of these re-assigned ISBNs will not be correctly identified as the publisher of record in Books In Print or any of the industry databases such as Barnes and Noble or Amazon or those of wholesalers such as Ingram. If you have questions, contact the US ISBN Agency for further advice.