ISBN-FAQ

1. What is an ISBN Number?
2. What is an ISBN used for?
3. How can I order ISBNS?
4. What do the numbers stand for?
5. What is the difference between ISBN 10 and ISBN 13?
6. How to find Out the ISBN of a Book?
7. How to search for a book by ISBN?
8. Do I have to have an ISBN?
9. Where do I get an ISBN?
10. How much does an ISBN cost?
11. What if I only want one ISBN?
12. What products need an ISBN?
13. What products don’t need an ISBN?
14. Where can I find the ISBN Number on a Book?

1. What is an ISBN Number?

The word ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. An ISBN number is a unique product number, which is allocated to a book.

ISBN 13

Example of an ISBN 13

2. What is an ISBN used for?

Publishers, booksellers, libraries and internet retailers use ISBN numbers to help with ordering, sales records, listing, and stock control.

3. How can I order ISBNS?

UK: You can purchase ISBN numbers from the Nielson UK ISBN Agency here. The Nieslon UK ISBN Agency is responsible for issuing ISBN numbers in the UK and Ireland.

US: The company responsible for administering ISBN numbers in the US are Bowker Identifier Services. Click here for more information.

4. What do the numbers stand for?

Each ISBN number is made up of five parts. The parts are separated by spaces or hyphens.

1) The prefix element is made up of three digits. It is currently 978 or 979.
2) The registration group element identifies the country, geographical region or language area. This is between 1 and 5 digits long.
3) The registrant element identifies a particular publisher.
4) The publication element identifies the particular edition or format of a book.
5) The check digit is worked out using a modulus 10 algorithm.

Part 1 The prefix element, three digits. Currently 978 or 979.
Part 2 The registration group element identifies the country, geographical region or language area. Between 1 and 5 digits long.
Part 3 The registrant element. It identifies a particular publisher.
Part 4 The publication element. Identifies the particular edition or format of a book.
Part 5 The check digit is worked out using a modulus 10 algorithm.

5. What is the difference between ISBN 10 and ISBN 13?

ISBN 10 for Brazil

ISBN 10 for Brazil

In the past publishers used ISBN 10, which refers to ISBN numbers that are 10 digits long. In 2001, a working group was set up to revise the ISBN standard. In January 2007, the length of ISBN numbers was increased from 10 to 13 digits. All ISBN numbers should now have 13 digits.

If you have purchased ISBN 10s, you will need to convert them into ISBN 13s. You can convert them into ISBN 10s using an ISBN convertor.

 

6. How to find Out the ISBN of a Book?

You can find out the ISBN of a book by searching online, e.g. on our site lookup-isbn.com. Just type the title and author of the book into our search field or any of these databases to find the ISBN:

7. How to search for a book by ISBN?

The easiest way to find the book you want, is to look it up using the ISBN number. There are many online databases like lookup-isbn.com which allow you to search by ISBN:

8. Do I have to have an ISBN?

There is no legal requirement to get an ISBN in the UK or US and it does not convey any form of legal protection or copyright protection. However an ISBN can be very usefull, if you want to publish a book in a bigger volume and sell it.

9. Where do I get an ISBN?

UK: ISBNs are assigned to publishers in the country where the publisher’s main office is based. The Neilson ISBN Agency is the national agency for the UK and Ireland. The Nielson ISBN Agency is located at: 3rd Floor Midas House, 62 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6LQ. Tel: 01483 71200.

US: The company responsible for administering ISBN numbers in the US are Bowker Identifier Services.

10. How much does an ISBN cost?

UK: If you are a new publisher, it will cost you £126 for the first ten ISBNs. This price includes ISBN registration. Publishers who have already registered with Nielson are charged £72 for ten ISBNs. The fee for 100 ISBNs is £240, and it is £720 for 1000 ISBNs.

US: Single ISBN: $125.00, 10 ISBNs: $250.00, 100 ISBNs: $575.00, 1,000 ISBNs: $1,000.00

11. What if I only want one ISBN?

It is not possible to buy a single ISBN in the UK. They are only available in blocks. The smallest block is 10 numbers. For the US one single ISBN ist possible but expensive.

12. What products need an ISBN?

There is no legal requirement to get an ISBN for any product. You can buy ISBNs for the following products:

  • Braille publications
  • Journals published no more than once a year
  • Electronic products that have a textual or instructional content (for example audio-books, E-books )
  • Educational or instructional films and videos
  • Educational or instructional software
  • Printed books and pamphlets
  • Digitised copies of publications

13. What products don’t need an ISBN?

  • Serials/ periodicals/ journals
  • Entertainment videos
  • Documentaries on Video/ CD Rom
  • Computer games
  • Computer application packages
  • Music Scores
  • Publications that are only available to a restricted group of people, eg. A book about the history of a golf club that is only sold to members
  • Websites
  • Non-text based publications (eg. Art prints or books without titles)

14. Where can I find the ISBN Number on a Book?

An ISBN is printed on the lower portion of the back cover of a book above the bar code and on the copyright page inside the book. For electronic publications, such as CD Roms and online publications, the ISBN must appear on the title display (the first screen that displays the title). For educational or instructional videos, the ISBN must appear on the credit titles. The ISBN should also be displayed on any boxes, sleeves or packaging that contains the publication.

Where to find an ISBN on a book:

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