Home Insights What is an ISBN Number? – IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

What is an ISBN Number? – IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

What is an ISBN Number? - IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

If you love reading books, or you sell or buy books then you must have noticed a number of the books. That number is called ISBN number and you will find it in every book. Do you know why the ISBN is mentioned in every book? So in today’s article, we are going to provide complete information about ISBN numbers.

Full form of ISBN

The full form of ISBN is International Standard Book Number and it is of 13 digits. Before 2006 ISBN numbers were 10 digits but now it is 13 digits. All the books which are put for sale or free distribution will have an ISBN number on them and all the books are identified by this ISBN number.

What is an ISBN Number?

ISBN number is a unique serial number through which we can identify the product. ISBN number is used by Publishers, Book Distributors, Libraries, Internet Booksellers for listing, Sale records and stock control purposes. 

Understand the Elements of ISBN Numbers

There are a total of 5 elements in any ISBN number.

  • Prefix Elements-  The prefix elements of any ISBN number is of 3 digits and it is at the starting of the ISBN. Currently, it is only 978 or 979.
  • Registration Group Element- This is helpful to identify the particular region or language to which the book belongs. Registration Group Element digits Can be of 1 to 5.
  • Registrant Element- By this element, we can know who is the publisher or publication house of the book. Registrant Element can be up to 7 digits.
  • Publication Element- This helps us to identify the special edition of the book title and the publication element can be up to 6 digits.
  • Check Digit- This is the last digit of an ISBN number and it is only in single digit. Which validates the other digits in ISBN number.

Why ISBN Numbers are Used?

ISBN number is used to identify any product and it is used by Book Publishers, Book Sellers, Libraries and Internet Book Suppliers. By ISBN number it is very easy to track bookselling records, Ordering Books, Listing Books and storage control. You can also visit the official website of ISBN for further information on ISBN numbers.

ISBN was founded by David Whitaker of the United Kingdom in 1967. He configure the ISBN and he was also referred to as the father of ISBN.

How to get ISBN Number?

To obtain the ISBN number the publisher needs to contact his country’s national ISBN agency and from there he can apply for the ISBN number. If you are a publisher in India then you will be required to contact the National ISBN Agency of India to get the ISBN number.

Benefits of ISBN Number

Until now we have understood what is ISBN, how it works and how to get it. Now we will discuss as what are the main benefits of ISBN.

  • An ISBN number reflects and serves as a unique international identifier for all the monographic publication houses and publishers. This helps them to search any of their books very easily.
  • Having ISBN numbers on the books helps any book store or online store to analyse their sales.
  • With the help of ISBN numbers, you can make more productive marketing and dispersion of your books.
  • By ISBN numbers you can link the most essential information about your books. It also helps you to gather the information that can be very helpful for you.
  • Through ISBN numbers on books, establishing the publisher of records is very easy.
  • ISBN numbers help to include your books in the databases which are used by the booksellers and libraries to reach for the particular book.

If you do not want to place your book in any store or libraries then there is no need to obtain ISBN numbers.

When anyone wants to publish various types of books like any hardcover or an e-book or any paperback. Then every book needs to have a separate ISBN number.

Interesting Facts About ISBN Numbers

  • ISBN Numbers are segregated into 5 parts. Which all have their unique digits.
  • Standard Book Numbering (SBN) was started by Great Britain’s largest bookseller WHSmith in 1967. That time it was the way to synchronise the books in the latest computerized warehouse.
  • If we speak about the International ISBN agency then it is located in London, UK. This is also an ISBN registration authority worldwide.
  • Most libraries and bookstores will not sell and feature any of your books until it is not having an ISBN number.
  • Initially, there is no bounding to use ISBNs on books as it doesn’t provide any type of copyright protection or legal protection.
  • There are few countries in the world wherein there is a law to have an ISBN number on books so the publication houses can easily be traced if required.
Previous articleThe Return of the Great Power Politics Amidst Changing World Order – IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute
Next articleChanging Dynamics of Indian Foreign Policy in 2021 – IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute
IMPRI, a startup research think tank, is a platform for pro-active, independent, non-partisan and policy-based research. It contributes to debates and deliberations for action-based solutions to a host of strategic issues. IMPRI is committed to democracy, mobilization and community building.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here