All you need to know about ISBN

All you need to know about ISBN

ISBN – An abbreviation for International Standard Book Number. 

If you have just stepped into the publishing industry, there may be questions popping up in your mind about what is ISBN no., how to get an ISBN, the format of ISBN, etc. To help you understand in just a sentence, it is a unique 13-digit ID number of a book that helps in navigating it, from any part of the world!

Now, let’s talk technically.

What is an ISBN of a book?
It is a 13-digit code that is assigned to monograph publications as a unique identifier for a specific book. ISBN is a short and distinct machine-readable code that is considered a global standard to identify a book title hassle-free.

What makes an ISBN number unique?
ISBNs are made up of 5 elements in the order that is given below-

  • A 3-digit number that identifies the product as a book
  • A single unit to indicate the country/language group of publication
  • A 3-digit code to identify a publisher as each one has a unique number
  • A 5-digit code indicating the unique title & edition of the book
  • A check digit at the end of the number verifies the ISBN

The purpose of an ISBN revealed!
ISBN of a product used by distributors, libraries, publishers, and the likes, can be used for the purpose of managing their orders, listing, and stock. Publishers can easily narrow down their search to the exact edition of the exact title in a standard format without any manual effort. As an author, ISBN is a symbol of International credibility that can serve multiple purposes for you.

  • Increases the chance of making your book discoverable to your readers
  • Helps link all the important information related to your book to a code
  • Facilitates an efficient distribution & marketing of your book across all channels
  • Adds authenticity to your book & its various editions both in ebook & paperback format
  • It acts as a means to smoothly track, collect & maintain your sales data over time
  • Saves you from paying a high tax charge while distributing to certain countries

Are you eligible for an ISBN?
Over 150 ISBN Agencies across the globe administer the ISBN coding process to publishers who are residents of their geographic location. ISBNs are assigned via these agencies at the direct application of publishers, video producers, institutions, and authors who aim to publish a product for sales & distribution in the market.

This question can be reframed as, “Who is managing the distribution & production of your book?” The answer can be split into two ways.

  • One, in the case of traditional publishing, it is your publisher who applies for the ISBN number. 
  • Two, if you are a self-published, then it’s you or your self-publishing platform that needs to apply for an ISBN number for your book.

Want to apply for an ISBN number? Click here to get started.

When does your ISBN number change?
Every time you produce a new edition of a book for the purpose of sale in the market, you need to apply for an ISBN. With the same title, your book now has a new ISBN number for its new preferred edition. This helps readers to look up specific editions of your book online, without any hassle.

With the right way of using your book’s ISBN numbers, your work will get differentiated & receive the much-deserved credibility in the market across the world.

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