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helpful tips - isbn: international standard book number

the isbn is a unique, machine-readable identification number, which marks a book unmistakably. this universally recognized, 13-digit number is divided into the following five parts, each separated by a hyphen:

  1. “978” prefix;
  2. group or country identifier, which identifies 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; and
  5. check digit, which validates the isbn.

an isbn should be assigned to each title. each format or binding (i.e. hardcover, paperback, cd, e-book, etc.) must have a separate isbn. a new isbn is required for a revised edition. once assigned, an isbn can never be reused.

u.s. publishers should apply for isbns with the following agency:

u.s. isbn agency

630 central avenue
new providence, nj 07974
tel:  877-310-7333

fax: 908-665-2895
e-mail: isbn-san@bowker.com
website: www.isbn.org

their website features an online application, as well as a printable application which you may submit via u.s. mail.

a minimum of 10 isbns must be ordered at any one time. applications are generally processed within 10 business days. for an additional fee, you may request priority processing, which takes 2 business days.

allow room on the lower back cover to print the isbn in barcode format, along with the retail price of your book.

we can create this barcode for you.


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