What is ISBN?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. 

This is Book’s unique identity on the International platform. ISBN consists of 13-digit numbers and no two books can have the same ISBN number.

Just like in India we have our Adhaar Number which is a unique identification number and no two Indian Citizen can have the same Adhaar number, similarly no two books (worldwide) will have the same ISBN number. ISBN number once allotted to a particular book can never be reused.

The International ISBN Agency is located in London, which assigns the unique number to the books all across the world.

Is it necessary to get ISBN number?

You can still publish your book without taking the ISBN number but it will not be recognized worldwide and any other book can have the same title as yours. 

Many big bookstores as well as online platforms like amazon (India & International) will not list your book until and unless it has an ISBN number.

On the other hand, an ISBN is not essentially required for ebooks. If you intend to sell only ebook and not hard copies, you can list your ebook on platform like amazon without ISBN number.

ISBN Number Elements 

ISBN recognizes the book all over the world. Every ISBN has 5 parts. 

  1. Prefix – It is a 3-digit number, currently starting with only 978 or 979
  2. Registration Group – This number identifies the book on similar grounds like book’s language or geographical region or country.
  3. Registrant – This number identifies publishers under whom the book is published.
  4. Publication Details – This number tracks the book’s edition and format.
  5. Check digit – This is the final single digit that is between 0 to 9. This is calculated using the modulus 10 system. Where 1st digit is multiplied by 1, second by 3, third by 1, fourth by 3 and so on. Then the digits are added to make the last check digit.

I have below quotes the ISBN of my book “Decoding Fitness”. I co-authored this Book with Kailash Pinjani. To understand ISBN better please refer to the Image below.


ISBN and copyright

ISBN is a book identifier number only. This doesn’t take into account copyright claims and protection. Copyright is a different platform for safeguarding the content and the subject of the book. 

Who should apply for ISBN? 

Assigning ISBN to your book is the responsibility of your publisher.

Author can seek the ISBN for their book directly also through their countries’ designated agency.

You need to take the ISBN every time you do any of the following with regards to your book

  1. Change the Book Title
  2. Change the Publisher
  3. Revision of the Book
  4. Book translation in any other language
  5. Changing the version (paperback, hardcover, kindle or audiobook)

Request your free publishing consultation below

Leave a Reply

Fill the details below and Schedule a 30-minute Zoom Call with our Publishing Expert!