Giving Identity To Your Book Through – ISBN

Identity is what lets you give an identification of who you are and where you belong too. So, identity is an obvious thing for all the living as well as nonliving beings as well. Without, identification your existence cannot be proved or identified which is almost equal to worthless. So, let us get into the details of the identification given to the published books.

A particular code is given to identify printed or digital books for which it is used as inventory -tracking devices. There are several types of publication identifiers such as ISBN, DOI, ISSN.  The code which we are going to explore is ISBN. The full form stands for the International standard book number. This publication identifier is unique to that journal, article or book. In addition, individual sections of books or issues or articles from journals, periodicals or serials that are made available separately may also use it as an identifier.

It includes bar code and usually found on the back cover of a book. This code is assigned to each separate edition. Also, the variation of publication but the method of assigning it is nation-specific and varies between countries. So, it often depends on how large the publishing industry is within a country. But sometimes privately published books appear without ISBN for which International ISBN  assigns such books ISBNs on its own initiative. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

Let us have a look into the history of ISBN

 The Standard Book Numbering (SBN) code is a nine-digit commercial book identifier System Created by  Gordon Foster in 1965. Later, a 10 digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization. SBN may be converted to an ISBN by prefixing the digit “0”. By prefixing a zero, this can be converted to ISBN. Since January 2007, ISBNs have contains thirteen digits long numbers if assigned on or after 1 January 2007 and ten digits long if assigned before 2007. A 13-digit ISBN can be separated with hyphens or spaces. It contains five types of identifying information or elements such as prefix, registration group, registrant, publication, and checksum. By purchasing an International standard book number for your publication, you ensure a good chance of being found in the search.


ISBN is very important from the viewpoint of publishers, booksellers, libraries, internet retailers and other supply chains for ordering, listing, sales records and stock purposes as it is a product identifier. It identifies the registrant, format, title, and edition of a book. Its purpose is to establish and identify one title or edition from a specific publisher and it is unique to that edition. It also allows efficient marketing of the product by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers, and distributors. The publisher should apply for the same and it is the only person or body who bears the cost in making a product available.

Different ISBN numbers to a book with the same title..!?

As ISBN is intended to identify a unique edition of a book, so hardcover edition of a book will carry different ISBN than a paperback edition of the same book and the revised edition of a book will get a new ISBN even if it carries the same title.

There are some pros and cons…

It is necessary to obtain an International standard book number to get ensured about your book is widely known and get the maximum sales potential. It is in your interest to use it which will likely help you in selling your book. However, people will assume that the book does not exist. Even they do exist but only if they are not listed in books in print type listing with ISBN.

Let us see the practical Benefits:

  • By assigning an ISBN, replaces the handling of long bibliographic descriptive records which saves time, cost and errors.
  • Ordering and distribution are mainly executed by ISBN, this is an efficient method.
  • Many publishing and supply chain system are based on ISBN.
  • The ISBN is machine-readable in the form of a 13 digit bar code which is considered really fast with no mistakes.
  • The ISBN is required for the running of electronic point-of-sale systems in bookshops.
  • Furthermore, with ISBN, it is easy to differentiate between different product forms and editions of the book whether printed or digital and it ensures that customer gets the version that they require.
  • ISBN updates the book-trade directories and bibliographic databases so that information on available books can be found easily.

What are the disadvantages of ISBN?

  •  ISBNs, both the numbers and bar codes are costly.
  • It takes time to get your book’s International standard book number so, if you are not going for retail selling or on Amazon which requires it, it might result in a delay in your book’s release.

Is International standard book number Mandatory?

It is not mandatory if you don’t intend to sell through a standard distribution channel though your book must-have it. Online retailers Amazon and Barnes and Noble do not require an ISBN for ebooks.

By knowing, the importance, facts, advantages and few drawbacks it is all up to the author to take up the final decision regarding the owning of ISBN for your book. Apart from the few drawbacks, it proved to be more valuable to have an International standard book number thus, for your book so as to give the identification and proving its existence in the market.

About the author: betagramgroup

Betagram Group

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