What is ISBN?
The International Standard Book Number, or ISBN, is a unique, numeric commercial book identifier based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) code created by Gordon Foster, now Emeritus Professor of Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin, for the booksellers and stationers W.H. Smith and others in 1966.
The 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO 2108. (However, the 9-digit SBN code was used in the United Kingdom until 1974.) Currently, the ISO’s TC 46/SC 9 is responsible for the ISBN.
A similar numeric identifier, the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), identifies periodical publications such as magazines.
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.
How do I select the correct amount of ISBNs?
- ISBNs are sold in blocks of 10, 100, and 1000. When purchasing ISBNs, we recommend that you estimate the amount of publications you will be publishing within the next five years, and select the block that best suits your needs. It is always best to select the block that will last you for a few years because you will be able to maintain one publisher prefix, and minimize the unit cost per ISBN. When purchasing a larger block of ISBNs, the price per ISBN decreases.
What is the format of the new ISBN-13?
- Every ISBN will consist of thirteen digits in 2007. The thirteen digit number is divided into five parts of variable length, each part separated by a hyphen.
Does the ISBN-13 have any meaning imbedded in the numbers?
- The five parts of an ISBN are as follows:
1. The current ISBN-13 will be prefixed by "978"
2. Group or country identifier which identifies a national or geographic grouping of publishers;
3. Publisher identifier which identifies a particular publisher within a group;
4. Title identifier which identifies a particular title or edition of a title;
5. Check digit is the single digit at the end of the ISBN which validates the ISBN;